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i  J, ' 





*  ^ 

,  Exiibria 
C.  K.  OGDEN 









Third  Edition.  Map.    2  Vols.    Post  8vo.   30s. 




These  pages,  which  she  has  been  so  good  as  to  peruse  and  approve  of, 

are  dedicated,  in  the  hopes  that   other   fair   readers  may  follow 

her  example, 

By  her  very  affectionate 

Husband  and  Servant, 

Richard  Fokd. 

P  E  E  F  A  C  E. 

Many  ladies,  some  of  whom  even  contemplate  a  visit  to 
Spain,  having  condescended  to  signify  to  the  publisher  their 
regrets,  that  the  Handbook  was  printed  in  a  form,  which  ren- 
dered its  perusal  irksome,  and  also  to  express  a  wish  that 
the  type  had  been  larger,  the  Author,  to  whom  this  distin- 
guished compliment  was  communicated,  has  hastened  to 
submit  to  their  indulgence  a  few  extracts  and  selections, 
which  may  throw  some  light  on  the  character  of  a  country 
and  people,  always  of  the  highest  interest,  and  particularly 
so  at  this  moment,  when  their  independence  is  once  more 
threatened  by  a  crafty  and  aggressive  neighbour. 

In  preparing  these  compilations  for  the  press  much  new 
matter  has  been  added,  to  supply  the  place  of  portions 
omitted  ;  for,  in  order  to  lighten  the  narrative,  the  Author 
has  removed  much  lumber  of  learning,  and  has  not  scrupled 
occasionally  to  throw  Strabo,  and  even  Saint  Isidore  himself, 
overboard.  Progress  is  the  order  of  the  day  in  Spain,  and 
its  advance  is  the  more  rapid,  as  she  was  so  much  in  arrear 
of  other  nations.  Transition  is  the  present  condition  of  the 
country,  where  yesterday  is  effaced  by  to-morrow.  There 
the  relentless  march  of  European  intellect  is  crushing  many 
a  native  wild  flower,  which,  having  no  value  save  colour  and 
sweetness,  must  be  rooted  up  before  cotton-mills  are  con- 


structed  and  bread  stuffs  substituted ;  many  a  trait  of  na- 
tionalit}  .n  manners  and  costume  is  already  effaced  ;  monks 
are  gone,  and  mantillas  are  going,  alas !  going. 

In  the  changes  that  have  recently  taken  place,  many 
descriptions  of  ways  and  things  now  presented  to  the  public 
will  soon  become  almost  matters  of  history  and  antiquarian 
mterest.  The  passages  here  reprinted  will  be  omitted  in 
the  forthcoming  new  edition  of  the  Handbook,  to  which 
these  pages  may  form  a  companion ;  but  their  chief  object 
has  been  to  offer  a  few  hours'  amusement,  and  may  be  of 
instruction,  to  those  who  remain  at  home ;  and  should  the 
humble  attempt  meet  with  the  approbation  of  fair  readers, 
the  author  will  bear,  with  more  than  Spanish  resignation, 
whatever  animadversions  bearded  critics  may  be  pleased  to 
inflict  on  this  or  on  the  other  side  of  the  water. 

(    ^i    ) 




A  General  View  of  Spain — Isolation — King  of  the  Spains — Castilian 
Precedence — Localism — Want  of  Union — Admiration  of  Spain — 
M.  Thiers  in  Spain 1 


The  Geography  of  Spain — Zones — Mountains — The  Pyrenees — The 
Gabacho,  and  French  Politics      .......       7 

The  Rivers  of  Spain— Bridges— Navigation— The  Ebro  and  Tagus       .     23 


Divisions  into  Provinces — Ancient  Demarcations — Modem  Departments 
— Population — Revenue — Spanish  Stocks       .....     30 


Travelling  in  Spain — Steamers — Roads,  Roman,  Monastic,  and  Royal — 
Modern  Railways — English  Speculations       .         .         ,  .         .40 


Post  Office  in  Spain — Travelling  with  Post  Horses —Riding  post — Mails 
and  Diligences,  Galeras,  Coches  de  Colleras,  Drivers  and  Manner  of 
Driving,  and  Oaths    .........     58 

Spanish  Horses — Mules— Asses— Muleteers— Maragatos      .         .        .69 

viii  CONTENTS. 



Riding  Tour  in  Spain — Pleasures  of  it— Pedestrian  Tour — Choice  of 
Companions — Rules  for  a  Riding  Tour — Season  of  Year — Day's 
Journey — Management  of  Horse ;  his  Feet ;  Shoes ;  General  Hints  .     80 


The  Rider's  Costume — Alforjas :  Their  contents — The  Bota,  and  How 
to  use  it — Pig  Skins  and  Borracha — Spanish  Money — Onzas  and 
smaller  Coins    ..........     94 


Spanish    Servants :   their  Character — Travelling  Groom,   Cook,  and 
Valet        ...  .......    105 


A  Spanish  Cook — Philosophy  of  Spanish  Cuisine — Sauce — Difficulty  of 
Commissariat — The  Provend — Spanish  Hares  and  Rabbits — The  011a 
— Garbauzos — Spanish  Pigs — Bacon  and  Hams — Omelette— Salad  and 
Gazpacho  .  .         .         .  .         ,         .         .         .  .119 


Drinks  of  Spain — Water — Irrigation — Fountains — Spanish  Thirstiness 
— The  Alcarraza — Water  Carriers — Ablutions— Spanish  Chocolate 
— Agraz — Beer  Lemonade  .         .         .         .         .         .         .   1 36 


Spanish  Wines — Spanish  Indifference — Wine-making — Vins  du  Pays — 
Local  Wines — Benicarld — Valdepenas  .  .         .  .         .145 


Sherry  Wines — The  Sherry  District — Origin  of  the  Name — Varieties 
of  Soil — Of  Grapes — Pajarete — Rojas  Clemente — Cultivation  of 
Vines — Best  Vineyards — The  Vintage — Amontillado — The  Capataz 
— The  Bodega — Sherry  Wine — Arrope  and  Madre  Vino— A  Lecture 
ou  Sherry  in  the  Cellar— at  the  Table— Price  of  Fine  Sherry — Falsi- 
fication of  Sherry — Manzanilla — The  Alpistera        .         .         .         .   1 50 




Spanish  Inns:  Why  so  lodifFerent— The  Fonda — Modern  Improve- 
ments— The  Posada— Spanish  Innkeepers — The  Venta:  Arrival  in  it 
— Arrangement — Garlic — Dinner — Evening — Night — Bill — Identity 
with  the  Inns  of  the  Ancients      .......    165 


Spanish  Robbers — A  Robber  Adventure  —  Guardias  Civiles  —  Exag- 
gerated Accounts — Cross  of  the  Murdered — Idle  Robber  Tales — 
French  Bandittiphobia — Robber  History — Guerrilleros — Smugglers — 
Jose  Maria — Robbers  of  the  First  Class — The  Ratero — Miguelites — 
Escorts  and  Escopeteros  —  Passes,  Protections,  and  Talismans  — 
Execution  of  a  Robber         .         .         .         ...         .         .         .186 


The  Spanish  Doctor ;  His  Social  Position — Medical  Abuses — Hospitals 
— Medical  Education  —  Lunatic  Asylums  —  Foundling  Hospital  of 
Seville  —  Medical  Pretensions  —  Dissection  —  Family  Physician — 
Consultations —  Medical  Costume — Prescriptions — Druggists — Snake 
Broth — Salve  for  Knife-cuts         .         .  .         .  .         .         .213 


Spanish  Spiritual  Remedies  for  the  Body — Miraculous  Relics — Sanative 
Oils — Philosophy  of  Relic  Remedies — Midwifery  and  the  Cinta  of 
Tortosa — Bull  of  Crusade  .  .         .         .         .         .         .         .   23G 


The  Spanish  Figaro  —  Mustachios  — Whiskers  —  Beards — Bleeding — 
Heraldic  Blood— Blue,  Red,  and  Black  Blood — Figaro's  Shop— The 
Baratero — Shaving  and  Toothdrawing  .....  255 


What  to  observe  in  Spain — How  to  observe — Spanish  Incuriousness  and 
Suspicions — French  Spies  and  Plunderers — Sketching  in  Spain — 
Difficulties;  How  Surmounted — Efficacy  of  Passports  and  Bribes — 
Uncertainty  and  Want  of  Information  in  the  Natives      .         .         .  265 




Origin  of  Bull-fight  or  Festival,  and  its  Religious  Character — 
Fiestas  Reales — Royal  Feasts — Charles  I.  at  one — Discontinuance  of 
the  Old  System — Sham  Bull-fights — Plaza  de  Toros — Slang  Lan- 
guage—Spanish Bulls— Breeds— The  Going  to  a  Bull-fight      .         .   286 


The  Bull-fight — Opening  of  Spectacle — First  Act,  and  Appearance 
of  the  Bull — The  Picador— Bull  Bastinado — The  Horses,  and  their 
Cruel  Treatment— Fire  and  Dogs — The  Second  Act — The  Chulos 
and  their  Darts— The  Third  Act— The  Matador— Death  of  the  Bull 
— The  Conclusion,  and  Philosophy  of  the  Amusement — Its  Effect  on 
Ladies 300 


Spanish  Theatre;  Old  and  Modern  Drama;  Arrangement  of  Play- 
houses— The  Henroost — The  Fandango ;  National  Dances — A  Gipsy 
Ball — Italian  Opera — National  Songs  and  Guitars  .         .         .318 


Manufacture  of  Cigars — Tobacco — Smuggling  via  Gibraltar — Cigars  of 
Ferdinand  VII. — Making  a  Cigarrito — Zumalacarreguy  and  the 
Schoolmaster — Time  and  Money  wasted  in  Smoking — Postscript  on 
Spanish  Stock    .         .         •         .         •         c  ■         .         •         4  335 



A  gen^iral  view  of  Spain — Isolation — King  of  the  Spains — Castilian  pre- 
cedence— Localism — Want  of  Union — Admiration  of  Spain — M.  Thiers 
in  Spain. 

The  kingdom  of  Spain,  which  looks  so  compact  on  the  map,  is 
composed  of  many  distinct  provinces,  each  of  which  in  earlier 
times  formed  a  separate  and  independent  kingdom  ;  and  although 
all  are  now  united  under  one  crown  by  marriage,  inheritance, 
conquest,  and  otlier  circumstances,  the  original  distinctions, 
geographical  as  well  as  social,  remain  almost  unaltered.  The 
language,  costume,  habits,  and  local  character  of  the  natives, 
vary  no  less  than  the  climate  and  productions  of  the  soil.  The 
chains  of  mountains  which  intersect  the  whole  peninsula,  and  the 
deep  rivers  which  separate  portions  of  it,  have,  for  many  years, 
operated  as  so  many  walls  and  moats,  by  cutting  oft' intercommu- 
nication, and  by  fostering  tliat  tendency  to  isolation  which  must 
exist  in  all  liilly  countries,  wiiere  good  roads  and  bridges  do  not 
abound.  As  similar  circumstances  led  the  people  of  ancient  Greece 
to  split  into  small  principalities,  tribes  and  clans,  so  in  Spain, 
man,  following  the  example  of  the  nature  by  which  he  is  sur- 
rounded, has  little  in  common  with  the  inhabitant  of  the  adjoin- 
ing district ;  and  these  diffierences  are  increased  and  perpetuated 
by  the  ancient  jealousies  and  inveterate  disliices,  which  petty  and 
contiguous  states  keep  up  with  sucli  tenacious  memory.  The 
general  comprehensive  term  "  Spain,"  wliich  is  convenient  for 
geographers  and  politicians,  is  calculated  to  mislead  the  traveller, 
for  it  would  be  far  from  easy  to  predicate  any  single  tiling  of 
Spain  or  Spaniards  wliich  will   be  equally  applicable  to  all  its 

KING  OF  THE  SPAINS.  [chap.  i. 

heterogeneous  component  parts.     Tlie  north-western  provinces 
are  more  rainy  than    Devonshire,  while   the   centre   plains  are 
more    calcined    than   those   of  the  deserts  of  Arabia,  and   the 
littoral  south  or  eastern  coasts  altogether  Algerian.    The  rude 
agricultural  Gallician,   the  industrious  manufacturing  artisan  of 
Barcelona,  the  gay  and  voluptuous  Andalucian,  the  sly  vindictive 
Valencian,  are  as  essentially  different  from  each  other  as  so  many 
distinct  characters  at  the  same  masquerade.     It  will   therefore 
be  more  convenient  to  the  traveller  to  take  each  province  by 
itself  and  treat  it  in  detail,  keeping  on  the  look-out  for  those 
peculiarities,  those  social  and   natural  characteristics  or  idiosyn- 
cracies  which  particularly  belong  to  each  division,  and  distinguish 
it  from  its  neighbours.     The  Spaniards  who   have  written  on 
their  own  geography  and  statistics,  and  who  ought  to  be  sup- 
posed to  understand  their  own  country  and  institutions  the  best, 
have  found  it  advisable  to  adopt  this  arrangement  from  feeling  the 
utter  impossibility  of  treating  Spain  (where  union  is  not  unity)  as 
a  whole.  There  is  no  king  of  Spam :  among  the  infinity  of  king- 
doms, the  list  of  which  swells  out  the  royal  style,  that  of"  Spain" 
is  not  found  ;  he  is  King  of  the  Spains,  Rex  Hispaniarum,  Rey 
de  las  Espa'/ias,  not  "  Rey  de  Espana.'"'    Philip  II.,  called  by  his 
countrymen  el  jmidente,  the  prudent,  wishing  to  fuse  down  his 
heterogeneous  subjects,  was  desirous  after  his  conquest  of  Por- 
tugal, which  consolidated  his  dominion,   to  call  himself  King  of 
Spain,  which  he  then  really  was;  but  this  alteration  of  title  was 
beyond  the  power  of  even  his  despotism  ;  such  was  the  opposition 
of  the  kingdoms  of  Arragon  and   Navarre,  which  never  gave  up 
the  hopes  of  shaking  off  the  yoke  of  Castile,  and  recovering  their 
former  independence,  while   the  empire  provinces  of  New  and 
Old   Castile  refused  in  anywise  to  compromise  their  claims  of 
pre-eminence.     They  from  early  times,  as  now,  took  the  lead  in 
national  nomenclature;  hence  '•  CasteUano''  Castilian,  is  syno- 
nymous with  Spaniard,  and  particularly  with  the  proud  genuine 
older  stock.     "  Castellano  a  las  derechas,"  means  a  Spaniard  to 
the  backbone ;  "  Hahlar  Castellano,"  to  speak  Castilian,  is  the 
correct  expression  for  speaking  the  Spanish  language.     Spain 
again  was  long  without  the  advantage  of  a  fixed  metropolis,  like 
Rome,  Paris,  or  London,  which  have  been  capitals  from  their 
foundation,  and  recognized  and  submitted  to  as  such ;  here,  the 


cities  of  Leon,  Burgos,  Toledo,  Seville,  Valladolid,  and  others, 
have  each  in  their  turns  been  the  capitals  of  the  kingdom.  This 
constant  change  and  short-lived  pre- eminence  has  weakened  any- 
prescriptive  superiority  of  one  city  over  another,  and  has  been  a 
cause  of  national  weakness  by  raising  up  rivalries  and  disputes 
about  precedence,  which  is  one  of  the  most  fertile  sources  of 
dissension  among  a  punctilious  people.  In  fact  the  king  was 
the  state,  and  wherever  he  fixed  his  head-quarters  was  the  court, 
La  Corte,  a  word  still  synonymous  with  Madrid,  which  now 
claims  to  be  the  only  residence  of  the  Sovereign — the  residenz, 
as  Germans  would  say  ;  otherwise,  when  compared  with  the 
cities  above  mentioned,  it  is  a  modern  place  ;  from  not  having 
a  bishop  or  cathedral,  of  which  latter  some  older  cities  possess 
two,  it  has  not  even  the  rank  of  a  ciudad,  or  city,  but  is  merely 
denominated  villa^  or  town.  In  moments  of  national  danger  it 
exercises  little  influence  over  the  Peninsula :  at  the  same  time, 
from  being  the  seat  of  the  court  and  government,  and  therefore 
the  centre  of  patronage  and  fashion,  it  attracts  from  all  parts 
those  who  wish  to  make  their  fortune ;  yet  the  capital  has  a 
hold  on  the  ambition  rather  than  on  the  affections  of  the  nation 
at  large.  The  inhabitants  of  the  different  provinces  think, 
indeed,  t!iat  Madrid  is  the  greatest  and  richest  court  in  the 
world,  but  their  hearts  are  in  their  native  localities.  "  3Ii 
paisano,"  my  fellow-countryman,  or  rather  my  fellow-county- 
man,  fellow-parishioner,  does  not  mean  Spaniard,  but  Anda- 
lucian,  Catalonian,  as  the  case  may  be.  When  a  Spaniard  is 
asked.  Where  do  you  come  from  ?  tlie  reply  is,  "  Soy  hijo  de 
Miircia — hijo  de  Granada,''  "  I  am  a  son  of  Murcia — a  son  of 
Granada,"  &c.  This  is  strictly  analogous  to  the  "  Children  of 
Israel,"  the  "  Beni "  of  the  Spanish  Moors,  and  to  this  day  the 
Arabs  of  Cairo  call  themselves  children  of  that  town,  ^'Ihn  el 
Musr,"  &c. ;  and  just  as  the  Milesian  Irishman  is  "a  boij  from 
Tipperary,"  &c.,  and  ready  to  fight  with  any  one  who  is  so  also, 
against  all  wiio  are  not  of  that  ilk  ;  similar  too  is  the  clansliip  of 
the  Higlilander;  indeed,  everywhere,  not  perhaps  to  the  same  ex- 
tent as  in  Spain,  the  being  of  the  same  province  or  town  creates  a 
powerful  freemasonry  ;  the  parties  cling  together  like  old  school- 
fellows. It  is  a  home  and  really  binding  feeling.  To  tlie  spot 
of  their  birth  all  their  recollections,  comparisons,  and  eulogies 



are  turned ;  nothing  to  them  comes  up  to  their  particular  pro- 
vince, that  is,  their  real  country.     "  La  Patria"  meaning  Spain 
at  large,  is  a  subject  of  declamation,  fine  words,  pulabras^Tp^- 
laver,  in  which  all,  like  Orientals,  delight  to   indulge,  and   to 
which  their  grandiloquent  idiom  lends  itself  readily  ;  but  their 
patriotism  is  parochial,  and  self  is  the  centre  of  Spanish  gravity. 
Like  the  German,  they  may  sing  and  spout  about  Fatherland: 
in  both  cases  the  theory  is  splendid,  but  in  practice  each  Spaniard 
thinks  his  own  province  or  town  the  best  in  the  Peninsula,  and 
himself  the  finest  fellow  in  it.     From  the  earliest  period  down 
to  the  present  all  observers  have  been  struck  with  this  localism 
as  a  salient  feature  in  the  character  of  the  Iberians,  who  never 
would  amalgamate,  never  would,  as  Strabo  said,  put  their  shields 
together — never  would  sacrifice  their  own  local  private  interest 
for  the  general  good  ;  on  tlie  contrary,  in  the  hour  of  n«^ed  they 
had,  as  at  present,  a  constant  tendency  to  separate  into  distinct 
juntas,  ^^  collective"  assemblies,  each   of  which  only  thought  of 
its  own  views,  utterly  indifferent  to  the  injury  thereby  occasioned 
to  what  ought  to  have  been  the  common  cause  of  all.     Common 
danger  and   interest  scarcely  can  keep  them  together,  the   ten- 
dency of  each  being  rather  to  repel  than  to  attract  the  other: 
the  common  enemy  once  removed,  they  instantly  fall  to  logger- 
heads among  each  other,  especially  if  there  be  any  spoil  to  be 
divided :    scarcely  ever,  as   in   the  East,  can  the  energy  of  one 
individual  bind   the  loose  staves  by  the  iron  power  of  a  master 
mind;  remove  the  baud,  and   the  centrifugal  members  instanta- 
neously disunite.      Thus  the  virility  and    vitality  of  tlie  noble 
people  have  been  neutralised  :  they   have,   indeed,  strong  limbs 
and  honest  hearts;  but,  as  in  the  Oriental  parable,  "a  head"  is 
wanting   to  direct   and  govern :    hence   Spain  is   to-day,  as  it 
always  has  been,  a  bundle  of  small  bodies  tied   together   by  a 
rope  of  sand,  and,  being  witliout  union,  is  also  without  strength, 
and  has  been  beaten  in  detail.     The  much-used  phrase  Espano- 
lismo  expresses  rather  a  "  dislike  of  foreign  dictation,"  and  the 
"  self -estimation"  of  Spaniards,  EspaTwles  sohre  todos,  than  any 
real  patriotic  love  of  country,  however  highly  they  rate  its  ex- 
cellences and   suj)eriority  to  every  other  one  under  heaven :  this 
opinion  is  condensed  in  one  of  those  pithy   proverbs  which,  no- 
where more  than  in  Spain,  are  the  exponents  of  popular  senti- 


ment:  it  runs  thus, — "  Quien  dice  Espana,  dice  todo"  which 
means,  "  Whoever  says  Spain,  says  everything."  A  foreigner 
may  perhaps  think  this  a  trifle  too  comprehensive  and  exclusive ; 
but  he  will  do  well  to  express  no  doubts  on  the  subject,  since  he 
will  only  be  set  down  by  every  native  as  either  jealous,  envious, 
or  ignorant,  and  probably  all  three. 

To  boast  of  Spain's  strength,  said  the  Duke  of  Wellington, 
is  the  national  weakness.  Every  infinitesimal  particle  which  con- 
stitutes nosotfos,  or  ourselves,  as  Spaniards  term  themselves,  will 
talk  of  his  countiy  as  if  the  armies  were  still  led  to  victory  by 
the  mighty  Charles  V.,  or  the  councils  managed  by  Philip  II. 
instead  of  Louis-Philippe.  Fortunate,  indeed,  was  it,  according 
to  a  Castilian  preacher,  that  the  Pyrenees  concealed  Spain  when 
the  Wicked  One  tempted  the  Son  of  Man  by  an  offer  of  all  the 
kingdoms  of  the  world,  and  the  glory  of  them.  This,  indeed, 
was  predicated  in  the  mediaeval  or  dark  ages,  but  few  peninsular 
congregations,  even  in  tiiese  enliglitened  times,  would  dispute 
the  inference.  It  was  but  the  other  day  that  a  foreigner  was 
relating  in  a  tertulia,  or  conversazione  of  Madrid,  the  well- 
known  anecdote  of  Adam's  revisit  to  the  earth.  The  narrator 
explained  how  our  first  father  on  lighting  in  Italy  was  perplexed 
and  taken  aback  ;  how,  on  crossing  the  Alps  into  Germany,  he 
found  nothing  that  he  could  understand — how  matters  got  darker 
and  stranger  at  Paris,  until  on  his  reaching  England  lie  was 
altogether  lost,  confounded,  and  abroad,  being  unable  to  make 
out  any  thing.  Spain  was  his  next  point,  where,  to  his  infinite 
satisfaction,  he  found  himself  quite  at  home,  so  little  had  things 
changed  since  his  absence,  or  indeed  since  the  sun  at  its  creation 
first  shone  over  Toledo.  The  story  concluded,  a  distinguished 
Spaniard,  who  was  present,  hurt  perhaps  at  the  somewhat  pro- 
testant-dissenting  tone  of  the  speaker,  gravely  remarked,  the 
rest  of  the  party  coinciding, — *S7,  Senor,  y  tenia  razon  ;  la  Es- 
pana es  Paradiso — "  Adam,  Sir,  was  right,  for  Spain  is  para- 
dise ;"  and  in  many  respects  this  worthy,  zealous  gentleman  was 
not  wrong,  although  it  is  affirmed  by  some  of  his  countrymen 
that  some  portions  of  it  are  inhabited  by  persons  not  totally 
exempt  from  original  sin  ;  thus  the  Valencians  will  say  of  their 
ravishing  huerta.,  or  garden,  Es  un  paradiso  hahitado  por  de^ 
monios, — •"  It  is  an  Eden  peopled  by  subjects  of  his  Satanic  Ma- 

6  M.  THIERS  IN  SPAIN.  [chap.  i. 

jesty."  Again,  according  to  the  natives,  Murcia,  a  land  over- 
flowing witli  milk  and  honey,  where  Flora  and  Pomona  dispute 
the  prize  with  Ceres  and  Bacchus,  possesses  a  cieJo  y  suelo  hueno, 
el  entresiielo  malo,  has  "  a  sky  and  soil  that  are  good,  while  all 
between  is  indifferent ;"  which  the  entresol  occupant  must  settle 
to  his  liking. 

Another  little  anecdote,  like  a  straw  thrown  up  in  the  air,  will 
point  out  the  direction  in  which  the  wind  blows.  Monsieur  Thiers, 
the  great  historical  romance  writer,  in  his  recent  hand- gallop 
tour  through  the  Peninsula,  passed  a  few  days  only  at  Madrid ; 
his  mind  being,  as  logicians  would  say,  of  a  subjective  rather  than 
an  objective  turn,  that  is,  disposed  rather  to  the  consideration  of 
the  ego,  and  to  things  relating  to  self,  than  to  those  that  do  not, 
he  scarcely  looked  more  at  any  thing  there,  than  he  did  during 
his  similar  run  through  London  :  "  Behold,"  said  the  Spaniards, 
"  that  little  gabacho ;  he  dares  not  remain,  nor  raise  his  eyes 
from  the  ground  in  this  land,  whose  vast  superiority  wounds  his 
personal  and  national  vanity."  There  is  nothing  new  in  this. 
The  old  Castilian  has  an  older  saying: — Si  Dios  no  fuese  Dios, 
seria  rey  de  las  Espanas,  y  el  de  Francia  su  cocinero — "  If  God 
were  not  God,  he  would  make  himself  king  of  the  Spains,  with 
him  of  France  for  his  cook."  Lope  de  Vega,  without  de- 
rogating one  jot  from  these  paradisiacal  pretensions,  used  him  of 
England  better.  His  sonnet  on  the  romantic  trip  to  Madrid 
ran  thus : — 

"  Carlos  Stuardo  soy, 

Que  sieiido  amor  mi  guia, 
Al  cielo  de  Espana  voy, 
Por  ver  mi  estrella  Maria." 

"  I  am  Charles  Stuart,  who,  with  love  for  my  guide,  hasten  to 
the  heaven  Spain  to  see  my  star  Mary."  The  Virgin,  it  must  be 
remembered,  after  whom  this  infanta  was  named,  is  held  by  every 
Spaniard  to  be  the  brightest  luminary,  and  the  sole  empress  of 



The  Geography  of  Spain— Zones— Mountains — The  Pyrenees — The  Gabacho, 

and  French  Politics. 

From  Spain  being  the  most  southern  country  in  Europe,  it  is 
very  natural  that  tliose  who  have  never  been  there,  and  who  in 
England  criticise  those  who  have,  should  imagine  the  climate  to 
be  even  more  delicious  than  that  of  Italy  or  Greece.  This  is  far 
from  being  the  fact ;  some,  indeed,  of  the  sea  coasts  and  sheltered 
plains  in  the  S.  and  E.  provinces  are  warm  in  winter,  and  ex- 
posed to  an  almost  African  sun  in  summer,  but  the  N.  and  W. 
districts  are  damp  and  rainy  for  the  greater  part  of  tlie  year, 
while  the  interior  is  eitlier  cold  and  cheerless,  or  sunburnt  and 
wind-blown  :  winters  have  occurred  at  Madrid  of  such  severity 
that  sentinels  have  been  frozen  to  death ;  and  frequently  all  com- 
munication is  suspended  by  the  depth  of  the  snow  in  the  elevated 
roads  over  the  mountain  passes  of  the  Castiles.  All,  therefore, 
who  are  about  to  travel  through  the  Peninsula,  are  particularly 
cautioned  to  consider  well  their  line  of  route  beforehand,  and  to 
select  certain  portions  to  be  visited  at  certain  seasons,  and  thus 
avoid  every  local  disadvantage. 

One  glance  at  a  map  of  Europe  will  convey  a  clearer  notion 
of  the  relative  position  of  Spain  in  regard  to  other  countries  than 
pages  of  letter-press :  this  is  an  advantage  which  every  school- 
boy possesses  over  the  Plinys  and  Strabos  of  antiquity  ;  the  an- 
cients were  content  to  compare  the  shape  of  the  Peninsula  to  that 
of  a  bull's  hide,  nor  was  the  comparison  ill  chosen  in  some 
respects.  We  will  not  weary  readers  with  details  of  latitude  and 
longitude,  but  just  mention  that  the  whole  superficies  of  the  Pe- 
ninsula, including  Portugal,  contains  upwards  of  19,000  square 
leagues,  of  which  somewhat  more  than  15,500  l>elong  to  Spain  ; 
it  is  thus  almost  twice  as  large  as  the  British  Islands,  and  only 
one-tenth  smaller  than  France;  the  circumference  or  coast-Hne 

GENERAL  VIEW  OF  SPAIN.  [chap.  ii. 

is  estimated  at  750  leagues.  This  compact  and  isolated  territory, 
inhabited  by  a  fine,  hardy,  warlike  population,  ought,  therefore, 
to  have  rivalled  France  in  military  power,  while  its  position  be- 
tween those  two  great  seas  which  command  the  commerce  of"  the 
old  and  new  world,  its  indented  line  of  coast,  abounding  in  bays 
and  harbours,  offered  every  advantage  of  vying  with  England  in 
maritime  enterprise. 

Nature  has  provided  commensurate  outlets  for  the  infinite  pro- 
ductions of  a  country  which  is  rich  alike  in  everything  that  is  to 
be  found  either  on  the  face  or  in  the  bowels  of  the  earth  ;  for  the 
mines  and  quarries  abound  with  precious  metals  and  marbles, 
from  gold  to  iron,  from  the  agate  to  coal,  while  a  fertile  soil  and 
every  possible  variety  of  climate  admit  of  unlnuited  cultivation 
of  the  natural  productions  of  the  temperate  or  tropical  zones : 
thus  in  the  province  of  Granada  the  sugar-cane  and  cotton-tree 
luxuriate  at  the  base  of  ranges  which  are  covered  with  eternal 
snow :  a  wide  range  is  thus  afforded  to  the  botanist,  who  may 
ascend  by  zones,  througli  every  variety  of  vegetable  strata,  from 
the  hothouse  plant  growing  wild,  to  the  hardiest  lichen.  It  has, 
indeed,  required  the  utmost  ingenuity  and  bad  government  of 
man  to  neutralise  the  prodigality  of  advantages  which  Pi-ovi- 
dence  has  lavished  on  this  highly  favoured  land,  and  which, 
while  under  the  dominion  of  the  Romans  and  Moors,  resembled 
an  Eden,  a  garden  of  plenty  and  delight,  when  in  the  words  of 
an  old  author,  there  was  nothing  idle,  nothing  barren  in  Spain — 
''  nihil  otiosum,  nihil  sterile  in  Hispania."  A  sad  change  has 
come  over  this  fair  vision,  and  now  the  bulk  of  the  Peninsula 
offers  a  picture  of  neglect  and  desolation,  moral  and  pliysical, 
which  it  is  painful  to  contemplate :  the  face  of  nature  and  the 
mind  of  man  have  too  often  been  dwarfed  and  curtailed  of  their 
fair  proportions ;  they  have  eitlier  been  neglected  and  their  in- 
herent fertility  allowed  to  run  into  vice  and  luxuriant  weeds, 
which  it  will  show  against  any  country  in  the  world,  or  their 
energies  have  been  misdirected,  and  a  capability  of  all  good  con- 
verted into  an  element  equally  powerful  for  evil ;  but  pride  and 
laziness  ai-e  here  as  everywhere  the  keys  to  poverty,  altivez  y 
pereza,  Haves  de  pobreza. 

The  geological  construction  of  Spain  is  very  peculiar,  and 
unlike  that  of  most  other  countries;  it  is  almost  one  mountain  or 


ap:glomeration  of  mountains,  as  those  of  our  countrymen  wlio  are 
speculating  in  Spanish  railroads  are  just  beginning  to  discover. 
The  interior  rises  on  every  side  from  the  sea,  and  the  central 
portions  are  higlier  than  any  other  table-lands  in  Europe,  ranging 
on  an  average  from  two  to  three  thousand  feet  above  the  level  of 
the  sea,  while  from  this  elevated  plain  cliains  of  mountains  rise 
again  to  a  still  greater  height.  Madrid,  which  stands  on  this 
central  plateau,  is  situated  about  2000  feet  above  tlie  level  of 
Naples,  which  lies  in  the  same  latitude  ;  tlie  mean  temperature  of 
Madrid  is  59°,  while  that  of  Naples  is  63°  30';  it  is  to  this 
difference  of  elevation  that  the  extraordinary  difference  of  cli- 
mate and  vegetable  productions  between  the  two  capitals  is  to  be 
ascribed.  Fruits  wliich  flourish  on  tlie  coasts  of  Provence  and 
Genoa,  which  lie  four  degrees  more  to  tlie  north  than  any  por- 
tion of  Spain,  are  rarely  to  be  met  with  in  tlie  elevated  interior 
of  the  Peninsula :  on  the  other  hand,  the  low  and  sunny  mari- 
time belts  abound  with  productions  of  a  tropical  vegetation.  The 
mountainous  character  and  general  aspect  of  the  coast  are  nearly 
analogous  throughout  the  circuit  which  extends  from  the  Basque 
Provinces  to  Cape  Finisterre ;  and  offer  a  remarkable  contrast 
to  those  sunny  alluvial  plains  which  extend,  more  or  less,  from 
Cadiz  to  Barcelona,  and  which  closely  resemble  each  other  in 
vegetable  productions,  such  as  the  fig,  orange,  pomegranate, 
aloe,  and  carob  tree,  which  grow  everywhere  in  profusion,  except 
in  those  parts  where  the  mountains  come  down  abruptly  into  the 
sea  itself.  Again,  the  central  districts,  composed  of  vast  plains 
and  steppes,  Parameras,  Tierras  de  campo,  y  Seccmos,  closely 
resemble  each  other  in  their  monotonous  denuded  aspect,  in 
their  scarcity  of  fruit  and  timber,  and  their  abundance  of  cereal 

Spanish  geographers  have  divided  tiie  Peninsula  into  seven 
distinct  chains  of  mountains.  These  commence  with  the 
Pyrenees  and  end  witli  the  Bcetican  or  Andalucian  ranges :  these 
cortlilleras,  or  lines  of  lofty  ridges,  arise  on  each  side  of  inter- 
vening plains,  which  once  formed  the  basins  of  internal  lakes, 
until  the  accumulated  waters,  by  bursting  through  the  obstruc- 
tions by  whi(!h  they  were  dammed  up,  found  a  passage  to  the 
ocean  :  the  dip  or  inclination  of  the  country  lies  from  the  east 
towards  the  west,  and,  accordingly,  the  cliief  rivers  which  form 

10  ZONES  OF  SPAIN.  [chap.  ii. 

the  drains  and  principal  water-sheds  of  the  greater  parts  of  the 
surface,  flow  into  the  Atlantic  :  their  courses,  like  the  basins 
through  which  they  pass,  lie  in  a  transversal  and  almost  a 
parallel  direction  ;  thus  the  Duero,  the  Tagus,  the  Guadiana, 
and  the  Guadalquivir,  all  flow  into  their  recipient  between  their 
distinct  chains  of  mountains.  The  sources  of  the  supply  to  these 
leading  arteries  arise  in  the  longitudinal  range  of  elevations 
which  descends  all  through  the  Peninsula,  approaching  rather  to 
the  eastern  than  to  the  western  coast,  whereby  a  considerably 
greater  length  is  obtained  by  each  of  these  four  rivers,  when 
compared  to  the  Ebro,  which  disembogues  in  the  Mediter- 

The  Moorish  geograjDher  Alrasi  was  the  first  to  take  difference 
of  climate  as  the  rule  of  dividing  the  Peninsula  into  distinct 
portions ;  and  modern  authorities,  carrying  out  this  idea,  have 
drawn  an  imaginary  line,  which  runs  north-east  to  south-west, 
thus  separating  the  Peninsula  into  the  northern,  or  the  boreal 
and  temperate,  and  the  southern  or  the  torrid,  and  subdividing 
these  two  into  four  zones  :  nor  is  this  division  altogether  fanciful, 
for  there  is  no  caprice  or  mistake  in  tests  derived  from  the 
vegetable  world ;  manners  may  make  man,  but  the  sun  alone 
modifies  the  plant :  man  may  be  fused  down  by  social  appliances 
into  one  uniform  mass,  but  the  rude  elements  are  not  to  be 
civilized,  nor  can  nature  be  made  cosmopolitan,  which  heaven 

The  first  or  northern  zone  is  the  Cantabrian,  the  European  ; 
this  portion  skirts  the  base  of  the  Pyrenees,  and  includes  portions 
of  Catalonia,  Arragon,  and  Navarre,  the  Basque  provinces,  the 
Asturias,  and  Gallicia.  This  is  the  region  of  humidity,  and  as 
the  winters  are  long,  and  the  springs  and  autumns  rainy,  it 
should  only  be  vifeited  in  tlie  summer.  It  is  a  country  of  hill 
and  dale,  is  intersected  by  numerous  streams  which  abound  in 
fish,  and  which  irrigate  rich  meadows  for  pastures.  The  valleys 
form  tlie  now  improving  dairy  country  of  Spain,  while  the 
mountains  furnish  the  most  valuable  and  available  timber  of  the 
Peninsula.  In  some  parts  corn  will  scarcely  ripen,  while  in 
other.-;,  in  addition  to  the  cerealia,  cider  and  an  ordinary  wine 
are  produced.  It  is  inhabited  by  a  hardy,  independent,  and 
rarely  subdued  population,  since  tlie  mountainous  country  offers 


natural  means  of  defence  to  brave  higlilanders.  It  is  useless  to 
attempt  the  conquest  with  a  small  army,  wliile  a  large  one  would 
find  no  means  of  support  in  the  hungry  localities. 

The  second  zo?ie  is  the  Iberian  or  eastern,  which,  in  its  mari- 
time portions,  is  more  Asiatic  tiian  European,  and  where  the 
lower  classes  partake  of  the  Greek  and  Carthaginian  character, 
being  false,  cruel,  and  treacherous,  yet  lively,  ingenious,  and 
fond  of  pleasure :  this  portion  commences  at  Burgos,  and 
includes  the  southern  portion  of  Catalonia  and  Arragon,  with 
parts  of  Castile,  Valencia,  and  Murcia.  The  sea-coasts  should 
be  visited  in  the  spring  and  autumn,  when  they  are  delicious ; 
but  they  are  intensely  hot  in  the  summer,  and  infested  with 
myriads  of  muskitoes.  The  districts  about  Burgos  are  among 
the  coldest  in  Spain,  and  the  thermometer  sinks  very  much 
below  the  ordinary  average  of  our  more  temperate  climate ;  and 
as  they  have  little  at  any  time  to  attract  the  traveller,  he  will 
do  well  to  avoid  them  except  during  the  summer  months.  The 
population  is  grave,  sober,  and  Castilian.  The  elevation  is  very 
considerable ;  thus  the  upper  valley  of  the  Mifio  and  some  of 
the  north-v^'estern  portions  of  Old  Castile  and  Leon  are  placed 
more  than  6000  feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea,  and  the  frosts 
often  last  for  three  months  at  a  time. 

The  third  zone  is  the  Lusitanian,  or  western,  which  is  by  far 
the  largest,  and  includes  the  central  parts  of  Spain  and  all 
Portugal.  The  interior  of  this  portion,  and  especially  the  pro- 
vinces of  the  two  Castiles  and  La  Mancha,  both  in  the  physical 
condition  of  the  soil  and  the  moral  qualities  of  the  inhabitants, 
presents  a  very  unfavourable  view  of  the  Peninsida,  as  these 
inland  steppes  are  burnt  up  by  summer  suns,  and  are  tempest 
and  wind-rent  during  winter.  The  general  absence  of  trees, 
hedges,  and  enclosures  exposes  these  wide  unprotected  plains  to 
the  rage  and  violence  of  tlie  elements  :  poverty-stricken  nuid 
houses,  scattered  here  and  there  in  the  desolate  extent,  afford  a 
wretched  home  to  a  poor,  proud,  and  ignorant  population  ;  but 
these  localities,  which  offer  in  themselves  neither  pleasure  nor 
profit  to  the  stranger,  contain  manj^  sites  and  cities  of  the 
highest  interest,  wliich  none  who  wish  to  understand  Spain  can 
possibly  pass  by  unnoticed.  The  best  periods  for  visiting  this 
portion  of  Spain  are  May  and  June,  or  September  and  October. 

12  GENERAL  DROUGHT  OF  SPAIN.  [chap.  ii. 

The  more  western  districts  of  this  Lusitanian  zone  are  not  so 
disagreeable.  There  in  the  uplands  the  ilex  and  chesnut  abound, 
while  the  rich  plains  produce  vast  harvests  of  corn,  and  the  vine- 
yards powerful  red  wines.  The  central  table-land,  which 
closely  resembles  the  plateau  of  Mexico,  forms  nearly  one-half 
of  the  entire  area  of  the  Peninsula.  The  peculiarity  of  the 
climate  is  its  dryness ;  it  is  not,  however,  unhealthy,  being  free 
from  the  agues  and  fevers  which  are  prevalent  in  the  lower 
plains,  river-swamps,  and  rice-grounds  of  parts  of  Valencia  and 
Andalucia.  Eain,  indeed,  is  so  comparatively  scarce  on  this 
table-land,  that  the  annual  quantity  on  an  average  does  not 
amount  to  more  than  ten  inches.  The  least  quantity  falls  in  the 
mountain  regions  near  Guadalupe,  and  on  the  high  plains  of 
Cuenca  and  Murcia,  where  sometimes  eight  or  nine  months  pass 
without  a  drop  falling.  The  occasional  thunder-storms  do  but 
just  lay  the  dust,  since  here  moisture  dries  up  quicker  even  than 
woman's  tears.  The  face  of  the  earth  is  tanned,  tawny,  and 
baked  into  a  veritable  terra  cotta :  everything  seems  dead  and 
burnt  on  a  funeral  pile.  It  is  all  but  a  miracle  how  the  prin- 
ciple of  life  in  the  green  herb  is  preserved,  since  the  very  grass 
appears  scorched  and  dead  ;  yet  when  once  the  rains  set  in,  vege- 
tation springs  up,  phcenix-like,  from  the  ashes,  and  bursts  forth 
in  an  inconceivable  luxuriance  and  life.  The  ripe  seeds  which 
have  fallen  on  the  soil  are  called  into  existence,  carpeting  the 
desert  with  verdure,  gladdening  the  eye  with  flowers,  and  intoxi- 
cating the  senses  M'ith  perfume.  The  thirsty  chinky  dry  earth 
drinks  in  these  genial  showers,  and  then  rising  like  a  giant 
refreslied  with  wine,  puts  forth  all  its  strength  ;  and  what  vege- 
tation is,  where  moisture  is  combined  with  great  heat,  cannot 
even  be  guessed  at  in  lands  of  stinted  suns.  The  periods  of 
rains  are  the  winter  and  spring,  and  when  these  are  plentiful, 
all  kinds  of  grain,  and  in  many  places  wines,  are  produced  in 
abundance.  The  olive,  however,  is  only  to  be  met  with  in  a 
few  favoured  localities. 

The  fourth  zone  is  the  Boetican,  which  is  the  most  southern 
and  African  ;  it  coasts  the  Mediterranean,  basking  at  the  foot  of 
the  mountains  which  rise  behind  and  form  the  mass  of  the  Pen- 
insula :  this  mural  barrier  otters  a  sure  protection  against  the 
cold  winds  which  sweep  across  the  central  region.     Nothing  can 

CHAP,  ir.]  GEOGRAPHY  OF  SPAI\.  13 

be  more  striking  than  the  descent  from  the  table  elevations  into 
these  maritime  strips ;  in  a  few  hours  the  face  of  nature  is  com- 
-pletely  clianged,  and  the  traveller  passes  from  the  climate  and 
vegetation  of  Europe  into  that  of  Africa,  This  region  is  cha- 
racterised by  a  dry  burning  atmosphere  during  a  large  part  of 
the  year.  The  winters  are  short  and  temperate,  and  consist 
rather  in  rain  than  in  cold,  for  in  the  sunny  valleys  ice  is  scarcely 
known  except  for  eating ;  the  springs  and  autumns  delightful 
beyond  all  conception.  Much  of  the  cultivation  depends  on 
artificial  irrigation,  which  was  carried  by  the  Moors  to  the 
highest  perfection  :  indeed  water,  under  tiiis  forcing,  vivifying 
sun,  is  the  blood  of  the  earth,  and  synonymous  with  fertility: 
the  productions  are  tropical ;  sugar,  cotton,  rice,  the  orange, 
lemon,  and  date.  The  algarrobo,  the  carob  tree,  and  the  adeJfa, 
the  oleander,  may  be  considered  as  forming  boundary  marks  be- 
tween this  the  tierra  caliente,  or  torrid  district,  and  the  colder 
regions  by  which  it  is  encompassed. 

Such  are  the  geographical  divisions  of  nature  with  which  the 
vegetable  and  animal  productions  are  closely  connected  ;  and  we 
shall  presently  enter  somewhat  more  fully  into  the  climate  of 
Spain,  of  which  the  natives  are  as  proud  as  if  they  had  made  it 
themselves.  Tliis  Bcetican  zone,  Andaliicia,  which  contains  in 
itself  many  of  the  most  interesting  cities,  sites,  and  natural 
beauties  of  the  Peninsula,  will  always  take  precedence  in  any 
plan  of  the  traveller,  and  each  of  these  points  has  its  own 
peculiar  attractions.  Tliese  embrace  a  wide  range  of  varied 
scenery  and  objects  ;  and  Andalucia,  easy  of  access,  may  be  gone 
over  almost  at  every  portion  of  the  year.  The  winters  may  be 
spent  at  Cadiz,  Seville,  or  Malaga ;  the  summers  in  the  cool 
mountains  of  Eonda,  Aracena,  or  Granada.  April,  May,  and 
June,  or  September,  October,  and  November,  are,  however,  the 
most  preferable.  Those  who  go  in  the  spring  should  reserve 
June  for  the  mountains  ;  those  who  go  in  the  autumn  should 
reverse  the  plan,  and  commence  with  Ronda  and  Granada, 
ending  with  Seville  and  Cadiz. 

Spain,  it  has  thus  been  shown,  is  one  mountain,  or  rather  a 
jumble  of  mountains, — for  the  principal  and  secondary  ranges  are 
all  more  or  less  connected  with  each  other,  and  descend  in  a 
serpentising  direction  throughout  the  Peninsula,  with  a  general 

14  SPANISH  MOUNTAINS.  [chap.  n. 

inclination  to  the  west.  Nature,  by  thus  dislocating  the 
country,  seems  to  have  suggested,  nay,  almost  to  have  forced, 
localism  and  isolation  to  the  inhabitants,  who  each  in  their  val- 
leys and  districts  are  shut  off  from  their  neighbours,  whom  to 
love,  they  are  enjoined  in  vain. 

The  internal  communication  of  the  Peninsula,  which  is  thus 
divided  by  the  mountain-walls,  is  effected  by  some  good  roads, 
few  and  far  between,  and  which  are  carried  over  the  most  con- 
venient points,  where  the  natural  dips  are  the  lowest,  and  the 
ascents  and  descents  the  most  practicable.  These  passes  are 
called  Puertos — port's,  or  gates.  There  are,  indeed,  mule-tracks 
and  goat-paths  over  other  and  intermediate  portions  of  the  chain, 
but  tliey  are  difficult  and  dangerous,  and  being  seldom  provided 
witii  ventas  or  villages,  are  fitter  for  smugglers  and  bandits  than 
honest  men :  the  farthest  and  fairest  way  about  will  always  be 
found  the  best  and  shortest  road. 

The  Spanish  mountains  in  general  have  a  dreary  and  harsh 
character,  yet  not  without  a  certain  desolate  sublimity :  the 
highest  are  frequently  capped  witli  snow,  which  glistens  in  the 
clear  sky.  They  are  rax'ely  clad  with  forest  trees ;  the  scarped 
and  denuded  ridges  cut  with  a  serrated  outline  the  clean  clear 
blue  sky.  The  granitic  masses  soar  above  the  green  valley  or 
yellow  corn-plains  in  solitary  state,  like  the  castles  of  a  feudal 
baron,  that  lord  it  over  all  below,  with  which  they  are  too  proud 
to  have  aught  in  common.  These  mountains  are  seen  to  greatest 
advantage  at  the  rise  and  setting  of  the  sun,  for  during  the  day 
the  vertical  rays  destroy  all  form  by  removing  shadows. 

These  geographical  peculiarities  of  Spain,  and  particularly  the 
existence  of  the  great  central  elevation,  when  once  attained  are 
apt  to  be  forgotten.  Tlie  country  rises  from  the  coast,  directly' 
in  the  north-western  provinces,  and  in  some  of  the  southern  and 
eastern,  with  an  intervening  alluvial  strip  and  swell :  but  when 
once  the  ascent  is  accomplished,  no  real  descent  ever  takes  place 
— we  are  then  on  the  summit  of  a  vast  elevated  mass.  Tiie  roads 
indeed  apparently  ascend  and  descend,  but  the  mean  height  is 
seldom  diminislied  :  tlie  interior  lulls  or  plains  are  undulations 
of  one  mountain.  The  traveller  is  often  deceived  at  the  apparent 
low  level  of  snow-clad  ranges,  such  as  the  Guadarrama;  this 
will  be  accounted  for  by  adding  the  great  elevation  of  their  bases 


above  the  level  of  tlie  sea.  The  palace  of  the  Escorial,  which  is 
placed  at  the  foot  of  the  Guadarrania,  and  at  the  head  of  a  seem- 
ing plain,  stands  in  reality  at  2725  feet  above  Valencia,  wliile 
the  summer  residence  of  the  king  at  La  Granja,  in  the  same 
chain,  is  thirty  feet  liigher  than  the  summit  of  Vesuvius.  This, 
indeed,  is  a  castle  in  the  air — a  cliateau  en  Espagne,  and  wortliy 
of  the  most  German  potentate  to  whom  that  element  belongs,  as 
the  sea  does  to  Britannia.  The  mean  temperature  on  the  plateau 
of  Spain  is  as  15*^  Reaumur,  while  that  of  the  coast  is  as  18"  and 
19^,  in  addition  to  the  protection  from  cutting  winds  which  their 
mountainous  backgrounds  afford  ;  nor  is  the  traveller  less  de- 
ceived as  regards  the  heights  of  the  interior  mountains  tlian  he 
is  with  the  champaigns,  or  table-land  plains.  The  eye  wanders 
over  a  vast  level  extent  bounded  only  by  the  horizon,  or  a  faint 
blue  line  of  other  distant  sierras  ;  this  space,  which  appears  one 
townless  level,  is  intersected  with  deep  ravines,  barrancos,  in 
which  villages  lie  concealed,  and  streams,  arroyos,  flow  unper- 
ceived.  Another  important  effect  of  this  central  elevation  is 
the  searching  dryness  and  rarefication  of  the  air.  It  is  often 
highly  prejudicial  to  strangers  ;  the  least  exposure,  which  is 
very  tem.pting  under  a  burning  sun,  will  often  bring  on  ophthal- 
mia, irritable  colics,  and  inflammatory  diseases  of  the  lungs  and 
vital  organs.  Such  are  the  causes  of  the  pulmonia,  whicli  carries 
off  the  invalid  in  a  few  days,  and  is  the  disease  of  Madrid.  The 
frozen  blasts  descending  from  the  snow-clad  Guadarrania  catcii 
the  incautious  passenger  at  the  ttirning  of  streets  which  are  roast- 
ing under  a  fierce  si.n.  Is  it  to  be  wondered  at,  that  this  capital 
should  be  so  very  insalubrious  ?  in  winter  you  are  frozen  alive, 
in  summer  baked.  A  man  takina:  a  walk  for  the  benefit  of  his 
health,  crosses  with  his  pores  open  from  an  oven  to  an  ice-house  ; 
catch-cold  introduces  the  Spanish  doctor,  who  soon  in  his  turn 
presents  the  undertaker. 

As  tlie  Pyrenees  possess  an  European  interest  at  this  moinent 
Avhen  the  Napoleon  of  Peace  proposes  to  annihilate  their  ex- 
istence, which  defied  Louis  XIV.  and  Buonaparte,  some  de- 
tails may  be  not  unacceptable.  This  gigantic  barrier,  whicli 
divides  Spain  and  France,  is  connected  with  the  dorsal  chain 
which  comes  down  from  Taitary  and  Asia.  It  stretches  far  be- 
yond the  transversal  spine,  for  the  mountains  of  the  Basque  Pro- 

16  THE  PYRENEES.  [chap.  ii. 

vinces,  Asturias,  and  Gallicia,  are  its  continuation.  The  Pyrenees, 
properly  speaking,  extend  E.  to  W.,  in  length  about  270  miles, 
being  both  broadest  and  highest  in  the  central  portion^;, 
where  the  width  is  about  60  miles,  and  the  elevations  exceed 
11,000  feet.  The  spurs  and  offsets  of  this  great  transversal 
spine  penetrate  on  both  sides  into  the  lateral  valleys  like  ribs 
from  a  back-bone.  The  central  nucleus  slopes  gradually  E.  to 
the  gentle  Mediterranean,  and  W.  to  the  fierce  Atlantic,  in  a 
long  uneven  swell. 

This  range  of  mountains  was  called  by  the  Romans  Monies 
and  Saltus  Pyrenei,  and  by  the  Greeks  Ylvp-qv-q,  probably  from 
a  local  Iberian  word,  but  which  they,  as  usual,  catching  at 
sound,  not  sense,  connected  with  their  Yivp,  and  then  bolstered- 
up  their  erroneous  derivation  by  a  legend  framed  to  fit  the  name, 
asserting  that  it  either  alluded  to  ajire  through  which  certain 
precious  metals  were  discovered,  or  because  tlie  lofty  summits 
were  often  struck  with  lightning,  and  dislocated  by  the  volcanos. 
According  to  the  Iberians,  Hercules,  when  on  his  way  to  "lift" 
Geryon's  cattle,  was  hospitably  received  by  Bebryx,  a  petty  ruler 
i;i  these  mountains  ;  whereupon  the  demigod  got  drunk,  and  ra- 
vished his  host's  daughter  Pyrene^  who  died  of  grief,  when  Her- 
cules, sad  and  sober,  made  the  wliole  range  re-echo  with  her 
name  ;  a  legend  which,  like  some  others  in  Spain,  requires  con- 
firmation, for  the  Phoenicians  called  these  ranges  Purani,  from 
the  forests,  Pura  meaning  wood  in  Hebrew.  Tlie  Basques  have, 
of  course,  their  etymology,  some  saying  that  the  real  root  is 
Biri,  an  elevation,  while  others  prefer  Bierri  enac,  the  "  two 
countries,"  wliich,  separated  by  the  range,  were  ruled  by  Tubal ; 
but  wlien  Spaniards  once  begin  with  Tubal,  the  best  plan  is  to 
shut  the  book. 

The  Maledcia  is  the  loftiest  peak,  although  the  Pico  del  Me- 
diodia  and  the  Canigii,  because  rising  at  once  out  of  plains  and 
therefore  having  the  greatest  apparent  altitudes,  were  long  con- 
sidered to  be  the  highest  ;  but  now  tliese  French  usurpers  are 
dethroned.  Seen  from  a  distance,  the  range  appears  to  be"  one 
mountain-ridge,  with  broken  pinnacles,  but,  in  fact,  it  consists 
of  two  distinct  lines,  vviiich  are  parallel,  but  not  continuous. 
The  one  which  commences  at  the  ocean  is  the  most  forward, 
being  at  least  30  miles  more  in  advance  towards  the  south  than 

CHAP,  n.]  THE  GAEACHO.  17 

the  corresponding  line,  which  commences  from  the  Mediter- 
ranean. The  centre  is  the  point  of  dislocation,  and  liere  the 
ramifications  and  reticulations  are  the  most  intricate,  as  it  is  the 
key-stone  of  the  system,  M'hich  is  buttressed  up  by  Las  Trea 
Sorellus,  the  three  sisters  Mo)de  Peidido,  Cylindro,  and  Mar- 
bore.  Here  is  the  source  of  tlie  Garonne,  La  Garona  ;  here 
the  scenery  is  the  grandest,  and  the  lateral  valleys  the  longest 
and  widest.  The  smaller  spurs  enclose  valleys,  down  each  of 
which  pours  a  stream  :  thus  tiie  Ebro,  Garona,  and  Bidasoa  are 
fed  from  the  mountain  source.  These  tributaries  are  generally 
called  in  France  Gaves,*  and  in  some  parts  on  the  Spanish  side 
Gabas  ;  but  Gav  signifies  a  "  river,"  antl  may  be  traced  in  our 
Avon ;  and  Humboldt  derives  it  from  the  l^sque  Gav,  a  "  hol- 
low or  ravine ;"  cavus.  The  parting  of  these  waters,  or  their 
tiowing  down  either  N.  or  S.,  should  naturally  mark  the  line  of 
division  between  France  and  Spain  :  such,  however,  is  not  the 
case,  as  part  of  Ccrdana  belongs  to  France,  while  Aran  be- 
longs to  Spain  ;  thus  each  country  possesses  a  key  in  its 
neighbour's  territory.  It  is  singular  that  this  obvious  incon- 
venience should  not  have  been  remedied  by  some  exchange 
wlien  the  long-disputed  boundary-question  was  settled  between 
Charles  IV.  and  the  French  republic. 

Mos,t  of  the  passes  over  this  Alpine  barrier  are  impracticable 
for  carriages,  and  remain  much  in  the  same  state  as  in  the  time 

*  The  -word  Gahaclw,  -wliich  is  the  most  offensive  vituperative  of  the 
Spauiard  against  the  Frenchman,  and  has  by  some  been  tliought  to  mean 
"those  who  dwell  on  (xaves,"  is  the  Arabic  L'abacJt,  detestable,  filthy,  or  •'  qui 
prava  indole  est,  morihu'-que."  In  fact  the  real  meaning  cannot  be  further 
alluded  to  beyond  referring  to  the  clever  tale  of  El  Frances  ij  Espa/iol.  by 
Quevedo.  The  antipathy  to  the  Gaul  is  natural  and  national,  and  dates  far 
bv-yond  history.  This  nickname  was  first  given  in  the  eighth  century,  wheu 
Charleraasne,  the  Buonaparte  of  his  day,  invaded  Spain,  on  the  abdication 
and  cession  of  the  crown  by  the  chaste  Alonso,  the  prototype  of  the  wittol 
Charles  IV. ;  then  the  Spanish  Moors  and  Christians,  foes  and  friends,  forgot 
their  hatreds  of  creeds  in  the  greater  loathing  for  the  abhorred  intruder,  whose 
'•  peerage  fell "  in  the  memorable  passes  of  Roncesvalles.  The  true  deriva- 
tion of  the  word  GabacJw,  which  now  resounds  from  these  Pyrenees  to  the 
Straits,  is  blinked  in  the  royal  academical  dictionary,  such  was  the  servile 
adulation  of  the  members  to  their  French  patron  Philip  V.  Mueraii  los 
GabacJws,  "  Death  vo  the  miscreants,"  was  the  rally  cry  of  Spain  after  the 
inhuman  butcheries  of  the  terrorist  Murat;  nor  have  the  echoes  died  away  ; 
a  spark  may  kindle  the  prepared  mine:  of  what  an  unspeakable  value  is  a 
natio'.ial  war-cry  v.'hich  at  once  gives  to  a  whole  people  a  shibboleth,  a  rally- 
ing watch-word  to  a  common  cause  !    Vox  populi  vox  Dei. 

18  THE  PYRENEES.  [chap.  n. 

of  the  Moors,  who  from  them  called  the  Pyrenean  range  Albert, 
from  the  Roman  Portce,  the  ridge  of  "  gates."  Many  of  tlie  wild 
passes  are  only  known  to  the  natives  and  smugglers,  and  are 
often  impracticable  from  the  snow  ;  while  even  in  summer  they 
are  dangerous,  being  exposed  to  mists  and  the  hurricanes  of 
mighty  rushing  winds.  The  two  best  carriageable  lines  of  inter- 
communication are  placed  at  each  extremity  :  that  to  the  west 
passes  through  Irun  ;  that  to  the  east  through  Figueras. 

The  Spanish  Pyrenees  offer  few  attractions  to  the  lovers  of 
the  fleshly  comforts  of  cities  ;  but  the  scenery,  sporting,  geology, 
and  botany  are  truly  Alpine,  and  will  well  repay  those  who  can 
'•  rough  it  "  considerably.  The  contrast  which  the  unfrequented 
Spanish  side  offers  to  the  crowded  opposite  one  is  great.  In  Spain 
the  mountains  themselves  are  less  abrupt,  less  covered  with  snow, 
while  the  numerous  and  much  frequented  baths  in  the  French 
Pyrenees  have  created  roads,  diligences,  hotels,  tables-d'hote, 
cooks,  Ciceronis,  donkeys,  and  so  forth  ;  for  the  Badauds  de 
Paris  who  babble  about  green  fields  and  des  belles  horreurs,  but 
who  seldom  go  beyond  the  immediate  vicinity  and  hackneyed 
"  lions."  A  want  of  good  taste  and  real  perception  of  the  sublime 
and  beautiful  is  nowhere  more  striking,  says  Mr.  Erskine 
Murray,  than  on  the  French  side,  where  mankind  remains  pro- 
foundly ignorant  of  the  real  beauties  of  the  Pyrenees,  which 
have  been  chiefly  explored  by  the  English,  who  love  nature  with 
all  their  heart  and  soul,  who  worship  her  alike  in  her  shyest  re- 
treats and  in  her  wildest  forms.  Nevertheless,  on  the  north  side 
many  comforts  and  appliances  for  the  tourist  are  to  be  had  ;  nay, 
invalids  and  ladies  in  search  of  the  picturesque  can  ascend  to  the 
Breche  de  Roland.  Once,  however,  cross  the  frontier,  and  a 
sudden  change  comes  over  all  facilities  of  locomotion.  Stern 
is  the  first  welcome  of  the  "  hard  land  of  Iberia,"  scarce  is  the 
food  for  body  or  mind,  and  deficient  the  accommodation  for  man 
or  beast,  and  simply  because  there  is  small  demand  for  either. 
No  Spaniard  ever  comes  here  for  pleasure ;  hence  the  localities 
are  given  uj)  to  the  smuggler  and  izard. 

The  Oriental  iriaesthetic  incnriousness  for  things,  old  stones, 
wild  scenery,  &c.,  is  increased  by  political  reasons  and  fears.  The 
neighbour,  from  the  time  of  the  Celt  down  to  to-day,  has  ever  been 
the  coveter,  ravager,  and  terror  of  Spain  :  her  "  knavish  tricks," 


fire  and  rapine  are  too  numerous  to  be  blinked  or  written  away, 
too  atrocious  to  be  forgiven  :  to  revenge  becomes  a  sacred  duty. 
However  governments  may  change,  the  policy  of  France  is  im- 
mutable. Perfidy,  backed  by  violence,  "  ruse  doublee  de  force," 
is  the  state  maxim  from  Louis  XIV.  and  Buonaparte  down  to 
Louis-Philippe :  the  principle  is  the  same,  whether  the  instru- 
ment employed  be  the  sword  or  wedding  ring.  The  weaker  Spain 
is  thus  linked  in  the  embrace  of  her  stronger  neighbour,  and  has 
been  made  alternately  her  dupe  and  victim,  and  degraded  into 
becoming  a  mere  satellite,  to  be  dragged  along  by  fiery  Mars. 
France  has  forced  her  to  share  all  her  bad  fortune,  but  never  has 
permitted  her  to  participate  in  her  success.  Spain  has  been  tied  to 
the  car  of  her  defeats,  but  never  has  been  allowed  to  mount  it  in  the 
day  of  triumph.  Her  friendship  has  always  tended  to  denational- 
ise Spain,  and  by  entailing  the  forced  enmity  of  England,  has 
caused  to  her  the  loss  of  her  navies  and  colonies  in  the  new  world. 

"  The  Pyreneau  boundary,"  says  the  Duke  of  Wellington, 
"  is  the  most  vulnerable  frontier  of  France,  probably  the  only 
vulnerable  one ;"  accordingly  she  has  always  endeavoured  to 
dismantle  the  Spanish  defences  and  to  foster  insurrections  and 
pronuncmmientos  in  Catalonia,  for  Spain's  infirmity  is  her  oppor- 
tunity, and  therefore  the  "  sound  policy  "  of  the  rest  of  Europe 
is  to  see  Spain  strong,  independent,  and  able  to  hold  her  own 
Pyrenean  key. 

While  France  therefore  has  improved  her  means  of  approach 
and  invasion,  Spain,  to  whom  the  past  is  prophetic  of  the  future, 
has  raised  obstacles,  and  has  left  her  protecting  barrier  as  broken 
and  hungry  as  when  planned  by  her  tutelar  divinity.  Nor  are 
her  higlilanders  more  practicable  than  their  granite  fastnesses. 
Here  dwell  the  smuggler,  the  rifle  sportsman,  and  all  who  defy 
the  law:  here  is  bred  the  hardy  peasant,  who,  accustomed  to 
scale  mountains  and  fight  wolves,  becomes  a  ready  raw  material 
for  the  guerrilleros,  and  none  were  ever  more  formidable  to 
Rome  or  France  than  those  marshalled  in  these  glens  by  Ser- 
torius  and  Mina.  When  the  tocsin  bell  rings  out,  a  hornet  swarm 
of  armed  men,  the  weed  of  the  hills,  starts  up  from  every  rock 
and  brake.  The  liatred  of  the  Frenchman,  which  the  Duke 
said  formed  "  part  of  a  Spaniard's  nature,"  seems  to  increase  in 
intensity  in  proportion  to  vicinity,  for  as  they  touch,  so  they  fret 


20  THE  PYRENEES.  [chap.  ii. 

and  rub  each  other :  here  it  is  the  antipathy  of  an  antithesis ; 
the  incompatibility  of  the  saturnine  and  slow,  with  the  mercurial 
and  rapid;  of  the  proud,  enduring,  and  ascetic,  against  the  vain, 
the  fickle,  and  sensual ;  of  the  enemy  of  innovation  and  change, 
to  the  lover  of  variety  and  novelty  ;  and  however  tyrants  and 
tricksters  may  assert  in  the  gilded  galleries  of  Versailles  that 
//  rCy  a  plus  de  Pyrmees,  this  party-wall  of  Alps,  this  barrier 
of  snow  and  hurricane,  does  and  will  exirst  for  ever  :  placed  there 
by  Providence,  as  was  said  by  the  Gothic  prelate  Saint  Isidore, 
they  ever  have  forbidden  and  ever  will  forbid  the  banns  of  an 
unnatural  alliance,  as  in  the  days  of  Silius  Italicus  : 

'•  Pyrene  celsa  nimbosi  verticis  arce 
Divisos  Celtis  late  prospectat  Hiberos 
Atque  scterua  tenet  magnis  divortia  terris." 

If  the  eagle  of  Buonaparte  could  never  build  in  the  Arragonese 
Sierra,  the  lily  of  the  Bourbon  assuredly  will  not  take  root  in 
the  Castilian  plain  ;  so  sings  Ariosto : 

"  Che  non  lice 

Che  '1  giglio  in  quel  terreno  habbia  radice !" 

This  inveterate  condition  either  of  pronounced  hostility,  or  at 
best  of  armed  neutrality,  has  long  rendered  these  localities  dis- 
agreeable to  the  man  of  the  note-book.  Tlie  rugged  mountain 
frontiers  consist  of  a  series  of  secluded  districts,  which  constitute 
the  entire  world  to  the  natives,  w  ho  seldom  go  beyond  the  natural 
walls  by  which  they  are  bounded,  except  to  smuggle.  This 
vocation  is  the  curse  of  the  country  ;  it  fosters  a  wild  reliance  on 
self-defence,  a  habit  of  border  foray  and  insurrection,  which 
seems  as  necessary  to  them  as  a  moral  excitement  and  combustible 
element,  as  carbon  and  hydrogen  are  in  their  physical  bodies. 
Tlieir  habitual  suspicion  against  prying  foreigners,  which  is  an 
Oriental  and  Iberian  instinct,  converts  a  curious  traveller  into  a 
spy  or  partisan.  Spanisli  autliorities,  who  seldom  do  these 
things  except  on  compulsion,  cannot  understand  the  gratuitous 
braving  of  iiardship  and  danger  for  its  own  sake — the  botanizing 
and  geologizing,  &c.,  of  the  nature  and  adventure-loving  English, 
The  impc.rtinente  curioso  may  possibly  escape  observation  in  a 
Spanish  city  and  crowd,  but  in  these  lonely  hills  it  is  out  of  the 
question :   he  is  the  observed  of  all  observers ;  and  they,  from 


long  smuggling  and  sporting  habits,  are  always  on  the  look-out, 
and  are  keen-sighted  as  hawks,  gipseys,  and  beasts  of  prey. 
Latterly  some  who,  by  being  placed  immediately  under  the 
French  boundary,  have  seen  the  glitter  of  our  tourists'  coin, 
have  become  more  humanized,  and  anxious  to  obtain  a  share  in 
the  profits  of  the  season. 

The  geology  and  botany  have  yet  to  be  properly  investigated. 
In  the  metal-pregnant  Pyrenees  rude  forges  of  iron  abound,  but 
everything  is  conducted  on  a  small,  unscientific  scale,  and  pro- 
bably after  the  unchanged  primitive  Iberian  system.  Fuel  is 
scarce,  and  transport  of  ores  on  muleback  expensive.  The  iron 
is  at  once  inferior  to  the  English  and  much  dearer :  tlie  tools 
and  implements  used  on  both  sides  of  the  Pyrenees  are  at  least  a 
century  behind  ours ;  while  absurd  tariffs,  which  prevent  the 
importation  of  a  cheaper  and  better  article,  retard  improve- 
ments in  agriculture  and  manufactures,  and  perpetuate  poverty 
and  ignorance  among  backward,  half-civilised  populations.  The 
timber,  moreover,  has  suffered  much  from  the  usual  neglect, 
waste,  and  improvidence  of  the  natives,  who  destroy  more  than 
they  consume,  and  never  replant.  The  sporting  in  these  lonely 
wild  districts  is  excellent,  for  where  man  seldom  penetrates  the 
feras  naturse  multiply :  the  bear  is,  however,  getting  scarce,  as  a 
premium  is  placed  on  every  head  destroyed.  The  grand  object  is 
the  Cabra  Montanez,  or  jRupicapra,  German  Steinbock,  the 
Bouquetin  of  the  French,  the  Izard  {Ibex,  becco,  bouc,  bock, 
buck).  The  fascination  of  this  pursuit,  like  that  of  the  Chamois 
in  Switzerland,  leads  to  constant  and  even  fatal  accidents,  as  this 
shy  animal  lurks  in  almost  inaccessible  localities,  and  must  be 
stalked  with  the  nicest  skill.  The  sporting  on  the  north  side  is 
far  inferior,  as  the  cooks  of  the  table-d'hotes  have  waged  a  guerra 
al  cuchillo,  a  war  to  the  knife,  and  fork  too,  against  even  les 
petits  oiseaux ;  but  your  French  artiste  persecutes  even  minnows, 
as  all  sport  and  fair  play  is  scouted,  and  everything  gives  way 
for  the  pot.  The  Spaniards,  less  mechanical  and  gastronomic, 
leave  the  feathered  and  finny  tribes  in  comparative  peace.  Ac- 
cordingly the  streams  abound  with  trout,  and  those  whicli  flow  into 
the  Atlantic  with  salmon.  The  lofty  Pyrenees  are  not  only  alem- 
bics of  cool  crystal  streams,  but  contain,  like  the  heart  of  Sappho, 
sources  of  warm  springs  under  a  bosom  of  snow.      The  most 

22  THE  PYRENEES.  [chap.  ii. 

celebrated  issue  on  the  iiortli  side,  or  at  least  those  which  are  the 
most  known  and  frequented,  for  the  Spaniard  is  a  small  bather, 
and  no  great  drinker  of  medicinal  waters.  Accommodations  at 
the  baths  on  liis  side  scarcely  exist,  while  even  those  in  France 
are  paltry  when  compared  to  the  spas  of  Germany,  and  dirty  and 
indecent  when  contrasted  with  those  of  England.  The  scenery 
is  alpine,  a  jumble  of  mountain,  precipice,  glacier,  and  forest, 
enlivened  by  the  cataract  or  hurricane.  The  natives,  when  not 
smugglers  or  giierrilleros,  are  rude,  simple,  and  pastoral :  they 
are  poor  and  picturesque,  as  people  are  who  dwell  in  mountains. 
Plains  winch  produce  "  bread  stuffs  "may  be  richer,  but  what 
can  a  traveller  or  painter  do  with  their  monotonous  common- 
place ? 

In  these  wild  tracts  the  highlanders  in  summer  lead  their 
flocks  up  to  mountain  huts  and  dwell  with  their  cattle,  strug- 
gling against  poverty  and  wild  beasts,  and  endeavouring  really 
to  keep  the  wolf  from  the  door :  their  watch-dogs  are  mag- 
nificent ;  the  sheep  are  under  admirable  control — being,  as  it 
were,  in  the  presence  of  the  enemy,  they  know  the  voice  of  their 
shepherds,  or  rather  the  peculiar  whistle  and  cry  :  their  wool  is 
largely  smuggled  into  France,  and  when  manufactured  in  the 
shape  of  coarse  cloth  is  then  re-smuggled  back  again. 



The  Rivers  of  Spain— Bridges— Navigation— The  Ebro  aud  Tagus. 

There  are  six  great  rivers  in  Spain, — the  arteries  which  run 
between  the  seven  mountain  chains,  the  vertebrae  of  the  geolo- 
gical skeleton.  These  water-sheds  are  each  intersected  in  their 
extent  by  olhers  on  a  minor  scale,  by  valleys  and  indentations, 
in  each  of  which  runs  its  own  stream.  Thus  the  rains  and 
melted  snows  are  all  collected  in  an  infinity  of  ramifications,  and 
are  carried  by  these  tributary  conduits  into  one  of  the  main  trunks, 
which  all,  with  the  exception  of  the  Ebro,  empty  themselves  into 
the  Atlantic.  The  Duero  and  Tagus,  unfortunately  for  Spain, 
disembogue  in  Portugal,  and  thus  become  a  portion  of  a  foreign 
dominion  exactly  where  their  commercial  importance  is  the 
greatest.  Philip  11.  saw  the  true  value  of  the  possession  of  an 
angle  which  rovxnded  Spain,  and  insured  to  her  tlie  possession  of 
these  valuable  outlets  of  internal  produce,  and  inlets  for  external 
commerce.  Portugal  annexed  to  Spain  gave  more  real  power  to 
his  throne  than  the  dominion  of  entire  continents  across  the 
Atlantic,  and  is  the  secret  object  of  every  Spanish  government's 
ambition.  The  3Ii~io,  whicli  is  the  shortest  of  these  rivers,  runs 
through  a  bosom  of  fertility.  The  Tajo,  Tagus,  which  tlie 
fancy  of  poets  has  sanded  with  gold  and  embanked  witli  roses, 
tracks  much  of  its  dreary  way  through  rocks  and  comparative 
barrenness.  Tlie  Guadiana  creeps  through  lonely  Estremadura, 
infecting  the  low  plains  with  miasma.  Tlie  Guadalquivir  eats 
out  its  deep  banks  amid  the  sunny  olive-clad  regions  of  Anda- 
lucia,  as  the  Ebro  divides  the  levels  of  Arragon.  Spain  abounds 
with  brackish  streams,  Snlados,  and  with  salt-mines,  or  saline 
deposits  after  the  evaporation  of  the  sea-waters  ;  indeed,  tlie  soil 
of  the  central  portions  is  so  strongly  impregnated  with  "  villainous 
saltpetre,"  that  the  small  province  of  La  Mancha  alone  could 
furnish  materials  to  blow  up  the  world ;  the  surface  of  these 

24  SPANISH  RIVERS.  [chap.  hi. 

regions,  always  arid,  i.s  every  day  becoming'  more  so,  from  the 
singular  antipathy  which  the  inhabitants  of  tlie  interior  have 
against  trees.  There  is  nothing  to  check  tiie  power  of  rapid 
evaporation,  no  shelter  to  protect  or  preserve  moisture.  The  soil 
becomes  more  and  more  parched  and  dried  up,  insomuch  tliat  in 
some  parts  it  has  almost  ceased  to  be  available  for  cultivatiorx : 
another  serious  evil,  which  arises  from  want  of  plantations,  is, 
that  the  slopes  of  Iiills  are  everywhere  liable  to  constant  denuda- 
tion of  soil  after  heavv  rain.  There  is  nothin"-  to  break  the 
descent  of  the  water ;  hence  the  naked,  barren  stone  summits 
of  many  of  the  sierras,  which  liave  been  pared  and  peeled  of  every 
particle  capable  of  nourishing  vegetation :  they  are  skeletons 
where  life  is  extinct ;  not  only  is  the  soil  thus  lost,  but  the 
detritus  washed  down  either  forms  bars  at  the  mouths  of  rivers, 
or  chokes  up  and  raises  their  beds  ;  they  are  thus  rendered  liable 
to  overflow  their  banks,  and  convert  the  adjoining  plains  into 
pestilential  swamps.  The  supply  of  water,  which  is  afforded  by 
periodical  rains,  and  which  ouglit  to  support  the  reservoirs  of 
rivers,  is  carried  oft'  at  once  in  violent  floods,  rather  tlian  in  a 
gentle  gradual  disembocation.  From  its  mountainous  character 
Spain  has  very  few  lakes,  as  the  fall  is  too  con.^iderable  to  allow 
water  to  accumulate  ;  the  exceptions  which  do  exist  might  with 
greater  propriety  be  termed  lochs — not  that  they  are  to  be  com- 
pared ill  size  or  beauty  to  some  of  those  in  Scotland.  The 
volume  in  the  principal  rivers  of  Spain  has  diminished,  and  is 
diminishing;  thus  some  which  once  were  navigable,  are  so  no 
longer,  while  the  artificial  canals  which  were  to  have  been  sub- 
stituted remain  unfinished :  the  progress  of  deterioration  ad- 
vances, while  little  is  done  to  counteract  or  amend  what  every 
year  must  render  more  diflicult  and  expensive,  while  the  means 
of  repair  and  correction  will  diminish  in  ecpial  proportion,  from 
the  poverty  occasioned  by  the  evil,  and  by  tlie  fearful  extent 
which  it  will  be  allowed  to  attain.  However,  several  grand 
water-companies  have  been  lately  formed,  who  are  to  dig  Arte- 
sian wells,  finish  canals,  navigate  rivers  with  steamers,  and  issue 
shares  at  a  premium,  whicli  will  be  effected  if  nothing  else  is. 

The  rivers  wiiich  are  really  adapted  to  navigation  are,  how- 
ever, only  those  which  are  perpetually  fed  by  those  tributary 
streams  that  flow  down  from   mountains  which  are  covered  with 


snow  all  the  year,  and  these  are  not  many.  The  majority  of 
Spanish  rivers  are  very  scanty  of  water  during  the  summer  time, 
and  very  rapid  in  their  ilow  when  filled  by  rains  or  melting 
snow :  during  these  periods  they  are  impracticable  for  boats. 
They  are,  moreover,  much  exhausted  by  being  drained  off, 
sangrado — tliat  is,  bled,  for  the  purposes  of  artificial  irrigation  ; 
thus,  at  Madrid  and  Valencia,  the  wide  beds  of  the  Manzanares 
and  the  Turia  are  frequently  dry  as  the  sands  of  the  seashore 
when  the  tide  is  out.  They  seem  only  to  be  entitled  to  be  called 
rivers  by  courtesy,  because  they  have  so  many  and  such  splendid 
bridges  ;  as  numerous  are  the  jokes  cut  by  the  newly-arrived 
stranger,  who  advises  the  townsfolk  to  sell  one  of  them  to  pur- 
chase water,  or  compares  their  thirsting  arches  to  the  rich  man 
in  torments,  who  prays  for  one  drop  ;  but  a  heavy  rain  in  the 
mountains  soon  shows  the  necessity  lor  their  strength  and  length, 
for  their  wide  and  lofty  arches,  their  buttress-like  piers,  wiiich 
before  had  appeared  to  be  rather  the  freaks  of  architectural 
magnificence  than  the  works  of  public  utility.  Those  who  live 
in  a  comparatively  level  country  can  scarcely  form  an  idea  of 
the  rapidity  and  fearful  destruction  of  the  river  inundations  in 
this  land  of  mountains.  Tlie  deluge  rolls  forth  in  an  avalanche, 
the  rising  water  coming  dowa  tier  above  tier  like  a  flight  of 
steps  let  loose.  These  tides  carry  everything  before  them — 
scarring  and  gullying  up  the  earth,  tearing  down  rocks,  trees, 
and  houses,  and  strewing  far  and  wide  tlie  relics  of  ruin  ;  but  the 
fierce  fury  is  short-lived,  and  is  spnnt  in  its  own  violence  ;  thus 
the  traveller  at  Madrid,  if  he  wishes  to  see  its  Thames,  should 
run  down  or  take  the  'bus  as  he  can,  when  it  rains,  or  the  river 
will  be  gone  before  he  gets  there.  When  the  Spaniards,  under 
those  blockheads  Blake  and  Cuesta,  lost  the  battle  of  Rio  Seco, 
which  gave  Madrid  to  Buonaparte,  the  French  soldiers,  in  cross- 
ing the  dry  river  bed  in  pursuit  of  the  fugitives,  exclaimed, — 
"  Why  Spanish  rivers  run  away  too  !" 

INIany  of  these  beds  serve  in  remote  districts,  where  highways 
and  bridges  are  thought  to  be  superfluous  luxuries,  for  the  double 
purposes  of  a  river  when  there  is  water  in  tliem,  and  as  a  road 
when  there  is  not.  Again,  in  this  land  of  anomalies,  some 
streams  liave  no  bridges,  while  other  bridges  have  no  streams ; 
the  most  remarkable  of  these  j^ontcs  asinorum  is  at  Coria,  where 

26  THE  EBRO.  [chap,  m. 

the  Alagon  is  crossed  at  an  inconvenient,  ?.nd  often  dangerous 
ferry,  while  a  noble  bridge  of  five  arches  stands  high  and  dry  in 
the  meadows  close  by.  This  has  arisen  from  the  river  having 
quitted  its  old  channel  in  some  inundation  ;  or,  as  Spaniards 
say,  salido  de  su  madre,  gone  out  from  its  mother,  who  does 
not  seem  to  know  that  it  is  out,  or  certainly  does  not  care,  since 
no  steps  have  ever  been  taken  by  the  Corians  to  coax  it  back 
again  under  its  old  arches ;  they  call  on  Hercules  to  turn  this 
Alpheus,  and  rely  in  tlie  meantime  on  their  proverb,  that  all 
fickle,  unfaithful  rivers  repent  and  return  to  their  legitimate 
beds  after  a  thousand  years,  for  nothing  is  hurried  in  Spain, 
Despues  de  anos  mil,  vuelve  el  rio  a  sit  cubil.  On  the  fishing 
in  these  wandering  streams  we  shall  presently  say  something. 

The  navigation  of  Spanish  rivers  is  Oriental,  classical,  and 
imperfect ;  the  boats,  barges,  and  bargemen  carry  one  back 
beyond  the  mediaeval  ages,  and  are  better  calculated  for  artistical 
than  commercial  purposes.  The  "great  river,"  the  Guadal- 
quivir, which  was  navigable  in  the  time  of  the  Eomans  as  far 
as  Cordova,  is  now  scarcely  practicable  for  sailing-vessels  of  a 
moderate  size  even  up  to  Seville.  Passengers,  however,  have 
facilities  afforded  them  by  the  steamers  which  run  backwards 
and  forwards  between  this  capital  and  Cadiz  ;  these  conveniences, 
it  need  not  be  said,  were  introduced  from  England,  although 
the  first  steamer  that  ever  paddled  in  waters  was  of  Spanish  in- 
vention, and  was  launched  at  Barcelona  in  1543  ;  but  the 
Spanish  Chancellor  of  the  Exchequer  of  the  time  was  a  poor 
red  tapist,  and  opposed  the  whole  thing,  which,  as  usual,  fell  to 
the  ground.  The  steamers  on  the  Guadalquivir  are  safe  ; 
indeed,  in  our  times,  the  advertisements  always  stated  that  a 
mass  was  said  before  starting  in  the  heretical  contrivance,  just  as 
to  this  day  Birmingham  locomotives,  when  a  railway  is  first 
opened  in  France,  are  sprinkled  with  holy  water,  and  blessed  by 
a  bishop,  wliich  may  be  a  new  "  wrinkle  "  to  Mr.  Hudson  and 
the  primate  of  York. 

There  is  considerable  talk  in  Arragon  about  rendering  the 
Ebro  navigable,  and  it  has  been  surveyed  this  year  by  two  en- 
gineers— English  of  course.  The  local  newspapers  compared  the 
astonishment  of  the  herns  and  peasantry,  created  on  the  banks  by 
this  arrival,  as  second  only  to  that  occasioned  when  Don  Quixote 

CHAi-.  iii.l  THE  TAGUS.  27 

and  Sancho  ventured  near  the  same   spot  into   the   enchanted 

There  has  been  still  older  and  greater  talk  about  establishing 
a  water  communication  between  Lisbon  and  Toledo,  by  means  of 
the  Tagus.  This  mighty  river,  which  is  in  every  body's  mouth, 
because  the  capital  of  the  kingdom  of  Port  wine  is  placed  at  its 
embouchure,  is  in  fact  almost  as  little  known  in  Spain  and  out 
of  it,  as  the  Niger.  It  has  been  our  fate  to  behold  it  in  many 
places  and  various  phases  of  its  most  poetical  and  picturesque 
course — first  green  and  arrowy  amid  the  yellow  corn  fields  of 
New  Castile  ;  then  freshening  the  sweet  Tenipe  of  Aranjuez, 
clothing  the  gardens  with  verdure,  and  filling  the  nightingale- 
tenanted  glens  with  groves  ;  then  boiling  and  rushing  around 
the  granite  ravines  of  rock-built  Toledo,  hurrying  to  escape  from 
the  cold  shadows  of  its  deep  prison,  and  dashing  joyously  into 
light  and  liberty,  to  wander  far  away  into  silent  plains,  and  on 
to  Talavera,  wliere  its  waters  were  dyed  with  brave  blood,  and 
gladly  reflected  the  flash  of  the  victorious  bayonets  of  England, 
— triumphantly  it  rolls  thence,  under  the  shattered  arches  of 
Almaraz,  down  to  desolate  Estremadura,  in  a  stream  as  tranquil 
as  the  azure  sky  by  which  it  is  curtained,  yet  powerful  enough  to 
force  tlie  mountains  at  Alcantara.  There  the  bridge  of  Trajan 
is  wortli  going  a  hundred  miles  to  see  ;  it  stems  the  now  fierce 
condensed  stream,  and  ties  the  rocky  gorges  together ;  grand, 
simple,  and  solid,  tinted  by  the  tender  colours  of  seventeen  cen- 
turies, it  looms  like  the  grey  skeleton  of  Roman  power,  with  all 
the  sentiment  of  loneliness,  magnitude,  and  the  interest  of  tlie  past 
and  present.  Such  are  the  glorious  scenes  we  have  beheld 
and  sketched  ;  such  are  the  sweet  waters  in  which  we  have  re- 
freslied  our  dusty  and  weary  limbs. 

How  stern,  solemn,  and  striking  is  this  Tagus  of  Spain  !  No 
commerce  has  ever  made  it  its  higliway — no  English  steamer  has 
ever  civilized  its  waters  like  those  of  France  and  Germany.  Its 
rocks  have  witnessed  battles,  not  peace  ;  have  reflected  castles 
and  dungeons,  not  quays  or  warehouses  :  few  cities  have  risen  on 
its  banks,  as  on  those  of  the  Thames  and  Rhine ;  it  is  truly  a 
river  of  Spain — that  isolated  and  solitary  land.  Its  waters  are 
without  boats,  its  banks  without  life ;    man  has  never  laid  hi.<» 

28  THE  TAGUS.  [chap,  hi 

hand  upon   its  billows,  nor  enslaved  their  free  and  independent 

It  is  impossible  to  read  Tom  Campbell's  admirable  description 
of  the  Danube  before  its  poetry  was  discharged  by  the  smoke 
of  our  ubiquitous  countrymen's  Dampf  Schiff,  without  applying 
his  lines  to  tliis  uncivilised  Tagus  : — 

"  Yet  have  I  loved  thy  -wild  abode, 

Unknown,  unploughed,  untrodden  shore, 
Where  scarce  the  woodman  finds  a  road, 

And  scarce  the  fisher  plies  an  oar; 
For  man's  neglect  I  love  thee  more, 

That  art  nor  avarice  intrude 
To  tame  thy  torrent's  thunder  shock, 
Or  prune  the  vintage  of  thy  rock, 
Magnificently  rude !" 

As  rivers  in  a  state  of  nature  are  somewhat  scarce  in  Great 
Britain,  one  more  extract  may  be  perhaps  pardoned,  and  the 
more  as  it  tends  to  illustrate  Spanish  character,  and  explain 
las  cosas  de  EspaTta,  or  the  things  of  Spain,  which  it  is  the 
object  of  these  humble  pages  to  accomplish. 

The  Tagus  rises  in  tliat  extraordinary  jumble  of  mountains, 
full  of  fossil  bones,  botany,  and  trout,  that  rise  between  Cuenca 
and  Teruel,  and  which  being  all  but  unknown,  clamour  loudly 
for  the  disciples  of  Isaac  Walton  and  Dr.  Buckland.  It  disem- 
bogues into  the  sea  at  Lisbon,  having  flowed  375  miles  in  Spain, 
of  which  nature  destined  it  to  be  the  aorta.  The  Toledan  chro- 
niclers derive  the  name  from  Tagus,  fifth  king  of  Iberia,  but 
Bochart  traces  it  to  Dag,  Dagon,  a  fish,  as  besides  being  con- 
sidered auriferous,  the  ancients  pronounced  it  to  be  piscatory. 
Not  that  the  present  Spaniards  trouble  their  head  more  about  the 
fishes  here  than  if  tliey  were  crocodiles.  Grains  of  gold  are 
indeed  found,  but  barely  enough  to  support  a  poet,  by  amphi- 
bious paupers,  called  artesilleros  from  their  baskets,  in  which 
they  collect  the  sand,  which  is  passed  through  a  sieve. 

The  Tagus  might  easily  be  made  navigable  to  the  sea,  and 
then  with  the  Xarama  connect  Madrid  and  Lisbon,  and  facilitate 
importation  of  colonial  produce,  and  exportation  of  wine  and 
grain.  Such  an  act  would  confer  more  benefits  upon  Spain  than 
ten  thousand   charters  or  paper  constitutions,  guaranteed  by  the 


sword  of  Narvaez,  or  the  word  and  honour  of  Louis-Philippe. 
The  performance  has  been  contemplated  by  many  foreigjiers,  the 
Toledans  looking  lazily  on  ;  thus  in  1581,  Antonelli,  a  Neapo- 
litan, and  Juanelo  Turriano,  a  Milanese,  suggested  the  scheme 
to  Philip  II.,  then  master  of  Portugal  ;  but  money  uas  wanting 
— the  old  story — for  his  revenues  were  wasted  in  relic-removino- 
and  in  building  the  useless  Escorial,  and  nothing  was  made  except 
water  parties,  and  odes  to  the  "  wise  and  great  king  "  who  ivas  to 
perform  the  deed,  to  the  tune  of  Macbeth's  witches,  "  I'll  do, 
I'll  do,  I'll  do,"  for  here  the  future  is  preferred  to  the  present 
tense.  The  project  dozed  until  1641,  when  two  other  foreigners, 
Julio  Martelli  and  Luigi  Carduchi,  in  vain  roused  Philip  IV. 
from  his  siesta,  who  soon  after  losing  Portugal  itself,  forthwith 
forgot  the  Tagus.  Another  century  glided  away,  when  in  17oo 
Richard  Wall,  an  Irishman,  took  the  thing  up  ;  but  Charles  III., 
busy  in  waging  French  wars  against  England,  wanted  cash. 
The  Tagus  has  ever  since,  as  it  roared  over  its  rocky  bed,  like  an 
unbroken  barb,  laughed  at  the  Toledan  who  dreamily  angles  for 
impossibilities  on  the  bank,  invoking  Brunei,  Hercules,  and 
Rothschild,  instead  of  putting  his  own  shoulder  to  the  water- 
wheel.  In  1808  the  scheme  was  revived ;  F'°-  Xavier  de  Ca- 
banas, who  had  studied  in  England  our  system  of  canals,  pub- 
lished a  survey  of  the  whole  river  ;  this  folio  '  Memoria  sobre  la 
Navigacioti  del  Tajo,'  or,  '  Memoir  on  the  Navigation  of  the 
Tagus,'  Madrid,  1829,  reads  like  the  blue  book  of  one  dis- 
covering the  source  of  the  Nile,  so  desert-like  are  the  unpeopled, 
uncultivated  districts  between  Toledo  and  Abrantes.  Ferd.  VII. 
thereupon  issued  an  approving  paper  decree,  and  so  there  the 
thing  ended,  although  Cabanas  had  engaged  with  Messrs.  Wallis 
and  Mason  for  the  machinery,  &c.  Recently  the  project  has 
been  renewed  by  Senor  Bernuidez  de  Castro,  an  intelligent  gen- 
tleman, who,  from  long  residence  in  England,  has  imbibed  the 
schemes  and  energy  of  the  foreigner.  Vertmos  I  "  we  shall  see  ;" 
for  hope  is  a  good  breakfast  but  a  bad  supper,  says  Eacon  ;  and 
in  Spain  things  are  l)egun  late  in  the  day,  and  never  finished  ;  so 
at  least  says  the  proverb  r  —  JS'/i  EspaTia  se  enqneza  tarde,  y  se 
acaha  nunca. 

30  DIVISION  INTO  PROVINCES.  [chap.  iv. 


Divisions  into  Provinces — Ancient  Demarcations — Modern  Departments — 
Population — llevenue — Spanish  Stocks. 

Ix  the  divisions  of  the  Peninsula  which  are  effected  by  moun- 
tains, rivers,  and  climate,  a  leading  principle  is  to  be  traced 
throughout,  for  it  is  laid  down  by  the  unerring  liand  of  nature. 
The  artificial,  political,  and  conventional  arrangement  into 
kingdoms  and  provinces  is  entirely  the  work  of  accident  and 
absence  of  design. 

These  provincial  divisions  were  formed  by  the  gradual  union 
of  many  smaller  and  previously  independent  portions,  which 
have  been  taken  into  Spain  as  a  whole,  just  as  our  inconvenient 
counties  constitute  the  kingdom  of  England ;  for  the  incon- 
veniences of  these  results  of  the  ebb  and  flow  of  the  different 
tides  in  the  affairs  of  man's  dominion — these  boundaries  not 
fixed  by  the  lines  and  rules  of  theodolite-armed  land  surveyors, 
use  had  provided  remedies,  and  long  habit  had  reconciled  the 
inhabitants  to  divisions  which  suited  them  better  than  any  new 
arrangement,  however  scientifically  calculated,  according  to  sta- 
tistical and  geographical  principles. 

The  French,  during  their  intrusive  rule,  were  horrified  at  this 
"  chaos  administratif,"  this  apparent  irregularity,  and  introduced 
their  own  system  of  dipartements,  by  which  districts  were  neatly 
squared  out  and  people  re-arranged,  as  if  Spain  were  a  chess- 
board and  Spaniards  mere  pawns — peones,  or  footmen,  which 
this  people,  calling  itself  one  of  cahalleros,  tliat  is,  riders  on 
horses  par  excellence,  assuredly  is  not :  nor,  indeed,  in  this 
paradise  of  the  church  militant,  can  the  moves  of  any  Spanish 
bishop  or  kniglit  be  calculated  on  with  mathematical  certainty, 
since  they  seldom  will  take  the  steps  to-morrow  which  they  did 

Accordingly,  however  specious  the  theory,  it  was  found  to  be 


no  easy  matter  to  carry  departementalization  out  in  practice  : 
individuality  laughs  at  the  solemn  nonsense  of  in-door  pedants, 
who  would  class  men  like  ferns  or  shells.  The  failure  in  this 
attempt  to  remodel  ancient  demarcations  and  recombine  antipa- 
thetic populations  was  utter  and  complete.  No  sooner,  therefore, 
had  the  Duke  cleared  the  Peninsula  of  doctrinaires  and  invaders 
than  the  Lion  of  Castile  shook  off  tlieir  papers  from  lus  mane, 
and  reverted  like  tlie  Italian,  on  whom  the  same  experiment  was 
tried,  to  his  own  pre-existing  divisions,  which,  liowever  defective 
in  tlieory,  and  unsightly  and  inconvenient  on  the  map,  had  from 
long  habit  been  found  practically  to  suit  better.  Recently,  in 
spite  of  this  experience  among  other  newfangled  transpyrenean 
reforms,  innovations,  and  botherations,  the  Peninsula  has  again 
been  parcelled  out  into  forty-nine  provinces,  instead  of  the  former 
national  divisions  of  thirteen  kingdoms,  principalities,  and  lord- 
ships ;  but  long  will  it  be  before  these  deeply  impressed  divisions, 
which  have  grown  with  the  growth  of  the  monarchy,  and  are 
engraved  in  the  retentive  memories  of  the  people,  can  be  effaced. 

Those  who  are  curious  in  statistical  details  are  referred  to  the 
works  of  Paez,  Antillon,  and  others,  who  are  considered  by 
Spaniards  to  be  authorities  on  vast  subjects,  which  are  fitter  for 
a  gazetteer  or  a  handbook  than  for  volumes  destined  like  these  for 
lighter  reading ;  and  assuredly  the  pages  of  the  respectable 
Spaniards  just  named  are  duller  than  the  high-roads  of  Castile, 
which  no  tiny  rivulet  the  cheerful  companion  of  the  dusty  road 
ever  freshens,  no  stray  flower  adorns,  no  song  of  birds  gladdens 
— "  dry  as  the  remainder  of  the  biscuit  after  the  voyage." 

The  thirteen  divisions  have  grand  and  historical  names :  they 
belong  to  an  old  and  monarchical  country,  not  to  a  spick  and 
span  vulgar  democracy,  without  title-deeds.  They  fill  the 
mouth  wlien  named,  and  conjure  up  a  thousand  recollections  of 
the  better  and  more  glorious  times  of  Spain's  palmy  power,  when 
there  were  giants  in  the  land,  not  pigmies  in  Parisian  paletots, 
whose  only  ambition  is  to  ape  the  foreigner,  and  disgrace  and 
denationalize  themselves. 

First  and  foremost  Andalucia  presents  herself,  crowned  with 
a  quadruple,  not  a  triple  tiara,  for  the  name  los  cuatro  reinos, 
"  the  four  kingdoms,"  is  her  synonym.  They  consist  of  those 
of  Seville,  Cordova,  Jaen,  and  Granada.      There  is  magic  and 

32  PROVINCES.  [chap.  iv. 

birdlime  in  tlie  very  letters.  Secondly  advances  the  kingdom  of 
Murcia,  with  its  silver-mines,  barilla,  and  palms.  Then  the 
gentle  kingdom  of  Valencia  appears,  all  smiles,  with  frnits  and 
silk.  The  principality  of  grim  and  truculent  Catalonia  scowls 
next  on  its  fair  neighbour.  Here  rises  the  smoky  factory  chimney  ; 
here  cotton  is  spun,  vice  and  discontent  bred,  and  revolutions 
concocted.  The  prond  and  stiff-necked  kingdom  of  Arragon 
marches  to  tlie  Avest  with  this  Lancashire  of  Spain,  and  to  the 
east  with  tlie  kingdom  of  Navarre,  which  crouches  with  its  green 
valleys  under  the  Pyrenees.  The  three  Basque  Provinces 
whicli  abut  thereto,  are  only  called  El  Senoino,  "  The  Lord- 
ship," for  the  king  of  all  the  Spains  is  but  simple  lord  of  this 
free  higliland  home  of  the  unconquered  descendants  of  the  abo- 
riginal man  of  the  Peninsula.  Here  there  is  much  talk  of 
bullocks  and  fueros,  or  "privileges;"  for  wiien  not  digging 
and  delving,  these  gentlemen  by  the  mere  fact  of  being  born 
here,  are  fighting  and  upholding  their  good  rights  by  the 
SHord.  The  empire  province  of  the  Castiles  furnishes  tvvo 
coronets  to  the  royal  brow ;  to  Avit,  that  of  the  older  portion, 
where  the  young  monarchy  was  nursed,  and  that  of  the 
newer  portion,  which  was  wrested  afterwards  from  the  infidel 
Moor.  The  ninth  division  is  desolate  E,strennuiura,  wliicli  has 
no  higher  title  than  a  province,  and  is  peopled  by  locusts,  wan- 
dering sheep,  pigs,  and  here  and  there  by  human  bipeds.  Leon, 
a  most  time-honoured  kingdon),  stretches  higher  up,  with  its 
corn-plains  and  venerable  cities,  now  silent  as  tombs,  but  in  auld 
lang  syne  the  scenes  of  mediaival  chivalry  and  romance.  The 
kingdom  of  Gallicia  and  the  principality  of  the  Asturias  form 
the  seaboard  to  the  west,  and  constitute  Spain's  breakwater 
atrainst  the  Atlantic. 

It  is  not  very  easy  to  ascertain  the  exact  population  of  any 
country,  much  less  that  of  one  which  does  not  yet  possess  tlie 
advantages  of  public  registrars  ;  the  people  at  large,  for  whom, 
strange  to  say,  the  pleasant  stiulies  of  statistics  and  political 
economy  liave  small  charms,  consider  any  attempt  to  number 
them  as  boding  no  good  ;  they  have  a  well-grounded  apprehen- 
sion of  ulterior  objects.  To  "  niuuber  the  people"  was  a  crime 
in  the  East,  and  many  moral  and  practical  difficulties  exist  in 
arriving  at  a  true  census  of  Spain.     Thus,  vviijle  some  writers  on 


statistics  hope  to  flatter  the  powers  that  be,  by  a  glowing  exag- 
geration of  national  strength,  "  to  boast  of  which,"  says  the  Duke, 
"  is  the  national  weakness,"  the  suspicious  many,  on  the  other 
hand,  are  disposed  to  conceal  and  diminish  the  truth.  We  should 
be  always  on  our  guard  when  we  hear  accounts  of  the  past  or 
present  population,  commerce,  or  revenue  of  Spain.  The  better 
classes  will  magnify  them  both,  for  the  credit  of  their  country  ; 
the  poorer,  on  tlie  other  hand,  will  appeal  ad  misericordiam,  by 
representing  matters  as  even  worse  than  they  really  are.  They 
never  afford  any  opening,  however  indirect,  to  information  which 
may  lead  to  poll-taxes  and  conscriptions. 

The  population  and  the  revenue  have  generally  been  exagge- 
rated, and  all  statements  may  be  much  discounted  ;  the  present 
population,  at  an  approximate  calculation,  may  be  taken  at 
about  eleven  or  twelve  millions,  with  a  slow  tendency  to  in- 
crease. This  is  a  low  figure  for  so  large  a  country,  and  for  one 
which,  under  the  Romans,  is  said  to  have  swarmed  with  inha- 
bitants as  busy  and  industrious  as  ants  ;  indeed,  the  longest 
period  of  rest  and  settled  government  which  this  ill-fated  land 
has  ever  enjoyed  was  during  the  three  centuries  that  the  Roman 
power  was  undisputed.  The  Peninsula  is  then  seldom  men- 
tioned by  authors  ;  and  how  much  happiness  is  inferred  by  that 
silence,  when  the  blood-spattered  page  of  history  was  chiefly 
employed  to  register  great  calamities,  plagues,  pestilences,  wars, 
battles,  or  the  freaks  of  men,  at  which  angels  weep !  Certainly 
one  of  the  causes  which  have  changed  this  happy  state  of  things, 
has  been  the  numerous  and  fierce  invasions  to  which  Spain  has 
been  exposed  ;  fatal  to  her  has  been  her  gift  of  beauty  and 
wealth,  which  has  ever  attracted  the  foreign  ravisher  and 
spoiler.  The  Goths,  to  whom  a  worse  name  has  been  given  than 
they  deserved  in  Spain,  were  ousted  by  the  Moors,  the  real  and 
wholesale  destroyers ;  bringing  to  the  darkling  West  the  luxu- 
ries, arts  and  sciences  of  the  bright  East,  they  had  nothing  to 
learn  from  the  conquered  ;  to  them  the  Goth  was  no  instructor, 
as  the  Roman  had  been  to  him ;  they  despised  both  of  their  pre- 
decessors, with  whose  wants  and  works  they  had  no  sympathy, 
while  they  abhorred  their  creed  as  idolatrous  and  polytheistic — 
down  went  altar  and  image.     There  was   no  fair  town  which 


34  DIFFERENT  RACES.  [chap.  iv. 

they  did  not  destroy ;  they  exterminated,  say  their  annals,  the 
fowls  of  the  air. 

The  Gotho-Spaniard  in  process  of  time  retaliated,  and  com- 
bated the  invader  with  his  own  weapons,  bettering  indeed  the 
destructive  lesson  which  was  taught.  Tlie  effects  of  these  wars, 
carried  on  without  treaty,  without  quarter,  and  waged  for 
country  and  creed,  are  evident  in  those  parts  of  Spain  which 
were  their  theatre.  Thus,  vast  portions  of  Estremadura,  the 
south  of  Toledo  and  Andalucia,  by  nature  some  of  the  richest 
and  most  fertile  in  the  world,  are  now  dehesas  y  despohlados^  de- 
populated wastes,  abandoned  to  the  wild  bee  for  his  heritage  ;  the 
country  remains  as  it  was  left  after  the  discomfiture  of  the 
Moor.  The  early  chronicles  of  both  Spaniard  and  INIoslem 
teem  with  accounts  of  the  annual  forays  inflicted  on  each  other, 
and  to  which  a  frontier-district  was  always  exposed.  The  object 
of  these  border  guerrilla-wfdiviaxQs  was  extinction,  talar,  quemar 
y  robar,  to  desolate,  burn,  and  rob,  to  cut  down  fruit-trees,  to 
"  harry,"  to  "  razzia."  *  The  internecine  struggle  was  that  of 
rival  nations  and  creeds.  It  was  truly  Oriental,  and  such  as 
Ezekie!,  who  well  knew  tlie  Phoenicians,  has  described  :  "  Go  ye 
after  him  through  the  city  and  smite  ;  let  not  your  eye  have 
pity,  neither  have  ye  pity ;  slay  utterly  old  and  young,  both 
maids  and  little  children  and  women."  The  religious  duty  of 
smiting  the  infidel  precluded  mercy  on  both  sides  alike,  for  the 
Christian  foray  and  crusade  was  the  exact  counterpart  of  the 
Moslem  algara  and  algihad ;  while,  from  military  reasons, 
everything  was  turned  into  a  desert,  in  order  to  create  a  frontier 
Edom  of  starvation,  a  defensive  glacis,  through  which  no  in- 
vading army  could  pass  and  live ;  the  "  beasts  of  the  field  alone 
increased."  Nature,  thus  abandoned,  resumed  her  rights,  and 
has  cast  off  every  trace  of  former  cultivation  ;  and  districts  the 
granaries  of  the  Roman  and  the  Moor,  now  offer  the  saddest  con- 
trasts to  that  former  prosperity  and  industry. 

To  these  horrors  sucC'Seded  the  thinning  occasioned  by  causes 
of  a  bigoted  and   political  nature :    the  expulsion  of  the  Jews 

*  R(i:zia  is  derived  from  the  Arabic  Al  gJiazia,  a  word  which  expresses 
these  raids  of  a  ferocious,  barbarous  age.  It  has  lieen  introduced  to  European 
dictionaries  by  the  Pelissiers,  who  thus  civilize  Algeria.  They  make  a  soli- 
tude, and  call  it  peace. 


deprived  poor  Spain  of  her  bankers,  while  the  final  banishment 
of  the  Moriscoes,  the  remnant  of  the  Moors,  robbed  the  soil  of 
its  best  and  most  industrious  agriculturists. 

Again,  in  our  time,  have  the  fatal  scenes  of  contending  Chris- 
tian and  Moor  been  renewed  in  the  struggle  for  national  inde- 
pendence, waged  by  Spaniards  against  the  Buonapartist  invaders, 
by  whom  neither  age  nor  sex  was  spared — neither  things  sacred 
nor  profane  ;  the  land  is  everywhere  scarred  with  ruins  ;  a  few 
hours'  Vandalism  sufficed  to  undo  the  works  of  ages  of  piety, 
wealth,  learning  and  good  taste.  The  French  retreat  was  worse 
than  their  advance :  then,  infuriated  by  disgrace  and  disaster, 
the  Soults  and  Massenas  vented  their  s])ite  on  the  unarmed  vil- 
lagers and  their  cottages.  But  let  General  Foy  describe  their 
progress : — "  Ainsi  que  la  neige  precipitee  des  sommets  des  Alpes 
dans  les  vallons,  nos  armees  innombrables  detruisaient  en  quel- 
ques  heures,  par  leur  seul  passage,  les  ressources  de  toute  une 
contree  ;  elles  bivouaquaient  habituellement,  et  a  cliaque  gite 
nos  soldats  demolissaient  les  maisons  baties  depuis  un  demi-siecle, 
pour  construire  avee  les  decombres  ces  longs  villages  alignes  qui 
souvent  ne  devaient  durer  qu'un  jour  :  au  defaut  du  bois  des 
forets  les  arbres  fruitiers,  les  vcgetaux  precieux,  comme  le  mu- 
rier,  i'olivier,  I'oranger,  servaient  a  les  rechauffer ;  les  conscrits 
irrites  a  la  fois  par  le  besoin  et  par  le  danger  contractaient  une 
ivresse  morale  dont  nous  ne  cherchions  pas  a  les  guerir." 

"  So  France  gets  drunk  with  blood  to  vomit  crime, 
And  fatal  ever  have  her  saturnalia  been." 

Who  can  fail  to  compare  this  habitual  practice  of  Buonaparte's 
legions  with  the  terrible  description  in  Hosea  of  the  "great 
people  and  strong"  whoexecute  the  dread  judgments  of  heaven  ? — 
"  A  fire  devoureth  before  them,  and  behind  them  a  flame  burneth  ; 
the  land  is  tlie  garden  of  Eden  before  them,  and  behind  them  a 
desolate  wilderness,  yea,  and  nothing  shall  escape  them." 

No  sooner  were  they  beaten  out  by  the  Duke,  than  population 
beg-an  to  spring  up  again,  as  the  bruised  flowerets  do  when  the 
iron  heel  of  marching  liordes  has  passed  on.  Then  ensued  the 
civil  fratricide  wars,  draining  the  land  of  its  males,  from  which 
bleeding  Spain  has  not  yet  recovered.  Insecurity  of  property 
and  per.son  will  ever  prove  bars  to  marriage  and  increased 


36  REVENUE.  "chap.  iv. 

Again,  a  deeper  and  more  permanent  curse  has  steadily  operated 
for  the  last  two  centuries,  at  which  Spanish  authors  long  have  not 
dared  to  hint.  They  have  ascribed  tlie  depopulation  of  Estre- 
madura  to  the  swarm  of  colonist  adventurers  and  emigrants  who 
departed  from  this  province  of  Cortes  and  Pizarro  to  seek  for 
fortune  in  the  new  world  of  gold  and  silver  ;  and  have  attributed 
tlie  similar  want  of  inhabitants  in  Andalucia  to  the  similar  out- 
pouring from  Cadiz,  which,  with  Seville,  engrossed  tlie  traffic  of 
the  Americas.  But  colonisation  never  thins  a  vigorous,  well- 
conditioned  mother  state— witness  the  rapid  and  daily  increase 
of  population  in  our  own  island,  which,  like  Tyre  of  old,  is  ever 
sending  forth  her  outpouring  myriads,  and  wafts  to  the  utter- 
most parts  of  the  sea,  on  the  white  wings  of  her  merchant  fleets, 
the  blessings  of  peace,  religion,  liberty,  order,  and  civilisation, 
to  disseminate  which  is  the  mission  of  Great  Britain. 

The  real  permanent  and  standing  cause  of  Spain's  thinly 
peopled  state,  want  of  cultivation,  and  abomination  of  desolation, 
is  Bad  Government,  civil  and  religious ;  this  all  who  run 
may  lead  in  her  lonely  land  and  silent  towns.  But  Spain,  if  the 
anecdote  which  her  children  love  to  tell  be  true,  will  never  be 
able  to  remove  the  incubus  of  this  fertile  origin  of  every  evil. 
AVhen  Ferdinand  III.  captured  Seville  and  died,  being  a  saint 
he  escaped  purgatory,  and  Santiago  presented  him  to  the  Virgin, 
who  forthwith  desired  him  to  ask  any  favours  for  beloved  Spain. 
The  monarch  petitioned  for  oil,  wine,  and  corn — conceded  ;  for 
sunny  skies,  brave  men,  and  pretty  women — allowed  ;  for  cigars, 
relics,  garlic,  and  bulls — by  all  means  ;  for  a  good  government — 
"  Nay,  nay,"  said  the  Virgin,  "  that  never  can  be  granted ;  for  were 
it  bestowed,  not  an  angel  would  remain  a  day  longer  in  heaven." 

The  present  revenue  may  be  taken  at  about  12,000,000/.  or 
13,000,000/.  sterling;  but  money  is  compared  by  Spaniards  to 
oil ;  a  little  will  stick  to  the  fingers  of  those  who  measure  it  out ; 
and  such  is  the  robbing  and  jobbing,  the  official  mystification 
and  peculation,  that  it  is  difficult  to  get  at  facts  whenever  cash 
is  in  question.  The  revenue,  moreover,  is  badly  collected,  and 
at  a  ruinous  per  centage,  and  at  no  time  during  this  last  century 
has  been  sufficient  for  the  national  expenses.  Eecourse  has  been 
had  to  the  desperate  experiments  of  usurious  loans  and  wholesale 
confiscations.     At  one  time  church  pillage  and  appropriation 

CHAP.  iv."j  THE  BOLSA.  37 

was  al  nost  the  only  item  in  the  governmental  budget.  The 
recipients  were  ready  to  "  prove  from  Vatel  exceedingly  well  " 
that  the  first  duty  of  a  rich  clergy  was  to  relieve  the  necessitous, 
and  the  more  when  the  State  was  a  pauper :  croziers  are  no 
match  for  bayonets.  This  system  necessarily  cannot  last. 
Since  the  reign  of  Philip  II.  every  act  of  dishonesty  lias  been 
perpetrated.  Public  securities  have  been  "  repudiated,"  interest 
unpaid,  and  principal  spunged  out.  No  country  in  the  Old 
World,  or  even  New  drab-coated  World,  stands  lower  in  financial 
discredit.  Let  all  be  aware  how  they  embark  in  Spanish  specula- 
tions :  however  promising  in  the  prospectus,  they  will,  sooner  or 
later,  turn  out  to  be  deceptions ;  and  whether  they  assume  the 
form  of  loans,  lands,  or  rails,  none  are  real  securities :  they  are 
mere  castles  in  the  air,  chateaux  en  Espagne :  "  The  earth  has 
bubbles  as  the  water  has,  and  these  are  of  them." 

For  the  benefit  and  information  of  those  who  have  purchased 
Iberian  stock,  it  may  be  stated  that  an  Exchange,  or  Balsa  de 
Comercio,  was  established  at  Madrid  in  1831.  It  may  be  called 
the  coldest  spot  in  the  hot  capital,  and  the  idlest,  since  the  usual 
"  city  article  "  is  short  and  sweet,  "  si?i  operaciones,"  or  nothing 
has  been  bought  or  sold.  It  might  be  likened  to  a  tomb,  with 
"  Here  lies  Spanish  credit "  for  its  epitaph.  If  there  be  a  thing 
which  "  La  perfide  Albion"  "  a  nation  of  shopkeepers,"  dislikes, 
worse  even  than  a  French  assignat,  it  is  a  bankrupt.  One  cir- 
cumstance is  clear,  that  Castilian  fundonor,  or  point  of  lionour, 
will  rather  settle  its  debts  with  cold  iron  and  warm  al)use  than 
with  gold  and  thanks. 

The  Exchange  at  Madrid  was  first  held  at  St.  Martin's,  a 
saint  who  divided  his  cloak  with  a  supplicant.  As  comjwrisons  are 
odious,  and  bad  examples  catching,  it  has  been  recently  removed 
to  the  Calle  del  Desengano,  the  street  of  "  finding  out  fallacious 
hopes,"  a  locality  which  the  bitten  will  not  deem  ill-chosen. 

As  all  men  in  power  use  their  official  knowledge  in  taking 
advantage  of  the  turn  of  the  market,  the  Balsa  divides  with  the 
court  and  army  the  moving  influence  of  every  situacion  or 
crisis  of  the  moment :  clever  as  are  the  ministers  of  Paris,  they 
are  mere  tyros  when  compared  to  their  colleagues  of  Madrid  in 
the  arts  of  working  the  telegraph,  gazette,  &c.,  and  thereby 
feathering  their  own  nests. 

38  SPANISH  "  STOCK."  ["chap.  it. 

The  Stock  Exchange  is  open  from  ten  to  three  o'clock^  where 
those  who  like  Spanish  funds  may  buy  them  as  cheap  as  st'^'iKing 
mackerel ;  for  when  the  3  per  cents,  of  perfidious  Albion  are  at 
98,  surely  Spanish  fives  at  22  are  a  tempting  investment.  The 
stocks  are  numerous,  and  suited  to  all  tastes  and  pockets,  whether 
those  funded  by  Aguado,  Ardouin,  Toreno,  Mendizabal,  or  Mon, 
"•  all  honourable  men,"  and  whose  punctuality  is  un-r emitting^ 
for  in  some  the  principal  is  consolidated,  in  others  the  interest 
is  deferred ;  the  grand  financial  object  in  all  having  been  to  re- 
ceive as  much  as  possible,  and  pay  back  in  an  inverse  ratio — 
their  leading  principle  being  to  bag  both  principal  and  interest. 
As  we  have  just  said,  in  measuring  out  money  and  oil  a  little 
will  stick  to  the  cleanest  fingers — the  Madrid  ministers  and  con- 
tractors made  fortunes,  and  actually  "did"  the  Hebrews  of  Lon- 
don, as  their  forefathers  spoiled  the  Egyptians.  But  from 
Philip  II.  downwards,  theologians  have  never  been  wanting  in 
Spain  to  prove  the  religious,  however  painful,  duty  of  bank- 
ruptcy, and  particularly  in  contracts  with  usurious  heretics.  The 
stranger,  when  shown  over  the  Madrid  bank,  had  better  evince 
no  impertinent  curiosity  to  see  the"  Dividend 7?«?/  office,"  as  it 
miglit  give  offence.  Whatever  be  our  dear  reader's  pursuit  in 
the  Peninsula,  let  him — 

"  Neither  a  borrower  nor  lender  be, 
For  loan  oft  losetli  both  itself  and  friend." 

Beware  of  Spanish  stock,  for  in  spite  of  official  reports,  docn- 
menios,  and  arithmetical  mazes,  which,  intricate  as  an  arabesque 
pattern,  look  well  on  paper  without  being  intelligible ;  in  spite 
of  ingenious  conversions,  fundings  of  interest,  coupons — some 
active,  some  passive,  and  other  repudiatory  terms  and  tenses,  the 
present  excepted — the  thiniblerig  is  always  the  same  ;  and  this  is 
the  question,  since  national  credit  depends  on  national  good  faith 
and  surplus  income,  how  can  a  country  pay  interest  on  debts, 
whose  revenues  have  long  been,  and  now  are,  miserably  insuf- 
ficient for  the  ordinary  expenses  of  government  ?  You  cannot 
get  blood  from  a  stone  ;  ex  nihilo  nihil Jh. 

Mr.  Macgregor's  report  on  Spain,  a  truthful  exposition  of 
commercial  ignorance,  habitual  disregard  of  treaties  and  viola- 
tion of  contracts,  describes  her  public  securities,  past  and  pre- 

CHAP,  rv.]  PUBLIC  DEBT.  39 

sent.  Certainly  they  had  very  imposing  names  and  titles — Juros 
Bonos,  Vales  reales,  Titulos,  &c., — much  more  royal,  grand, 
and  poetical  than  our  prosaic  Consols;  but  no  oaths  can  attach 
real  value  to  dishonoured  and  good-for-nothing  paper.  Accord- 
ing to  some  financiers,  the  public  debts  of  Spain,  previously  to 
1808,  amounted  to  83,763,966/.,  which  have  since  been  increased 
to  279,083,089/.,  farthings  omitted,  for  we  like  to  be  accurate. 
This  possibly  may  be  exaggerated,  for  the  government  will  give 
no  information  as  to  its  own  peculation  and  mismanagement : 
according  to  Mr.  Henderson,  78,649,675/.  of  this  debt  is  due  to 
English  creditors  alone,  and  we  wish  tliey  may  get  it,  when  he  gets 
to  IMadrid.  In  the  time  of  James  I.,  Mr.  Howell  was  sent  there 
on  much  such  an  errand  ;  and  when  he  left  it,  his  "  pile  of  unre- 
dressed claims  was  higher  than  himself."  At  all  events,  Spain  is 
over  head  and  ears  in  debt,  and  irremediably  insolvent.  And  yet 
few  countries,  if  we  regard  the  fertility  of  her  soil,  lier  golden 
possessions  at  home  and  abroad,  her  frugal  temperate  population, 
ought  to  have  been  less  embarrassed  ;  but  Heaven  has  granted 
her  every  blessing,  except  a  good  and  honest  government.  It 
is  either  a  bully  or  a  craven :  satisfaction  in  twenty -four  hours 
a  la  Bresson,  or  a  line-of-battle  ship  off  Malaga — Cromwell's 
receipt — is  the  only  argument  which  these  semi -Moors  under- 
stand :  conciliatory  language  is  held  to  be  weakness :  you  may 
obtain  at  once  from  their  fears  what  never  will  be  granted  by 
their  sense  of  justice. 

40  TRAVELLING  IN  SPAIN.  [chap,  v 


Travelling  in  Spain — Steamers — Eoads,  Roman,  Monastic,  and  Royal — 
Modem  Railways — English  Speculations. 

Of  the  many  misrepresentations  regarding  Spain,  few  are  more 
inveterate  than  tliose  which  refer  to  the  dangers  and  difficulties 
that  are  there  supposed  to  beset  the  ti-aveller.  This,  tlie  most 
romantic,  racy,  and  peculiar  country  of  Europe,  may  in  reality 
be  visited  by  sea  and  land,  and  throughout  its  length  and  breadth, 
with  ease  and  safety,  as  all  who  have  ever  been  there  well  know, 
the  nonsense  with  which  Cockney  critics  who  never  have  been 
there  scare  delicate  writers  in  albums  and  lady-bird  tourists,  to 
tlie  contrary  notwithstanding :  the  steamers  are  regular,  the 
mails  and  diligences  excellent,  the  roads  decent,  and  the  mules 
sure-footed ;  nay,  latterly,  the  posadas,  or  inns,  have  been  so 
increased,  and  the  robbers  so  decreased,  that  some  ingenuity 
must  be  evinced  in  getting  either  starved  or  robbed.  Those, 
however,  who  are  dying  for  new  excitements,  or  who  wish  to 
make  a  picture  or  chapter,  in  short,  to  get  up  an  adventure  for 
the  home-market,  may  manage  by  a  great  exhibition  of  impru- 
dence, chattering,  and  a  holding  out  luring  baits,  to  gratify  their 
hankering,  although  it  would  save  some  time,  trouble,  and  ex- 
pense to  try  the  experiment  much  nearer  home. 

As  our  readers  live  in  an  island,  we  will  commence  with  the 
sea  and  steamers. 

Tlie  Peninsular  and  Oriental  Navigation  Company  depart  re- 
gularly three  times  a  month  from  Southampton  for  Gibraltar. 
They  often  arrive  at  Corunna  in  seventy  hours,  from  whence  a 
mail  starts  directly  to  Madrid,  which  it  reaches  in  three  days  and 
a  half.  Tlie  vessels  are  excellent  sea-boats,  are  manned  by 
English  sailors,  and  propelled  by  English  machinery.  The  pas- 
sage to  Vigo  has  been  made  in  less  than  three  days,  and  the 
voyage  to  Cadiz — touching  at  Lisbon  included — seldom  exceeds 

CHAP,  v.]  STEAMERS.  41 

six.  The  change  of  climate,  scenery,  men,  and  manners  effected 
by  this  week's  trip,  is  indeed  remarkable.  Quitting  the  British 
Channel  we  soon  enter  the  "  sleepless  Bay  of  Biscay,"  where  the 
stormy  petrel  is  at  home,  and  where  the  gigantic  swell  of  the 
Atlantic  is  first  checked  by  Spain's  iron-bound  coast,  the  moun- 
tain break-water  of  Europe.  Here  TJie  Ocean  will  be  seen  in 
all  its  vast  majesty  and  solitude:  grand  in  the  tempest-lashed 
storm,  grand  in  the  calm,  when  spread  out  as  a  mirror  ;  and  never 
more  impressive  than  at  night,  when  the  stars  of  heaven,  free 
from  earth-born  mists,  sparkle  like  diamonds  over  those  "  who 
go  down  to  the  sea  in  ships,  and  behold  the  works  of  tlie  Lord, 
and  his  wonders  in  the  deep."  The  land  has  disappeared,  and 
man  feels  alike  his  weakness  and  his  strength  ;  a  thin  plank  se- 
parates him  from  another  world  ;  yet  he  has  laid  his  hand  upon 
the  billow,  and  mastered  the  ocean  ;  he  has  made  it  the  highway 
of  commerce,  and  the  binding  link  of  nations. 

The  steamers  which  navigate  the  Eastern  coast  from  Marseilles 
to  Cadiz  and  back  again,  are  cheaper  indeed  in  their  fares,  but  by 
no  means  such  good  sea-boats  ;  nor  do  they  keep  their  time — the 
essence  of  business — with  English  regularity.  They  are  foreign 
built,  and  worked  by  Spaniards  and  Frenchmen.  They  gene- 
rally stop  a  day  at  Barcelona,  Valencia,  and  other  large  towns, 
which  gives  them  an  opportunity  to  replenish  coal,  and  to 
smuggle.  A  rapid  traveller  is  also  thus  enabled  to  pay  a  flying 
visit  to  the  cities  on  the  seaboard  ;  and  thus  those  lively  authors 
who  comprehend  foreign  nations  with  an  intuitive  eagle-eyed 
glance,  obtain  materials  for  sundry  octavos  on  the  history,  arts, 
sciences,  literature,  and  genius  of  Spaniards.  But  as  Mons.  Feval 
remarks  of  some  of  his  gifted  countrymen,  they  have  merely 
to  scratch  their  head,  according  to  the  Horatian  expression,  and 
out  come  a  number  of  volumes,  ready  bound  in  calf,  as  Minerva 
issued  forth  armed  from  the  temple  of  Jupiter. 

The  Mediterranean  is  a  dangerous,  deceitful  sea,  fair  and  false 
as  Italia ;  the  squalls  are  sudden  and  terrific  ;  then  the  crews 
either  curse  the  sacred  name  of  God,  or  invoke  St.  Telmo,  ac- 
cording as  their  notion  may  be.  We  have  often  been  so  caught 
when  sailing  on  these  perfidious  waters  in  these  foreign  craft, 
and  think,  with  the  Spaniards,  that  escape  is  a  miracle.  The 
hilarity  excited  by  witnessing  the  jabber,  coi'fusion,  and  lubber 

42  SPANISH  ROADS.  [chap.  v. 

proceedings,  went  far  to  dispel  all  present  apprehension,  and 
future  also.  Some  of  our  poor  blue-jackets  in  case  of  a  war  may 
possibly  escape  the  fate  with  which  they  are  threatened  in  this 
French  lake.  But  no  wise  man  will  ever  go  by  sea  when  he 
can  travel  by  land,  nor  is  viewing  Spain's  coasts  with  a  telescope 
from  the  deck,  and  passing  a  few  hours  in  a  sea-port,  a  very  satis- 
factory mode  of  becoming  acquainted  with  the  country. 

The  roads  of  Spain,  a  matter  of  much  importance  to  a  judi- 
cious traveller,  are  somewhat  a  modern  luxury,  having  been  only 
regularly  introduced  by  the  Bourbons.  The  Moors  and  Spa- 
niards, who  rode  on  horses  and  not  in  carriages,  suffered  those 
magnificent  lines  with  which  the  Romans  had  covered  the  Penin- 
sula to  go  to  decay ;  of  these  there  were  no  less  than  twenty- 
nine  of  the  first  order,  which  were  absolutely  necessary  to  a 
nation  of  conquerors  and  colonists  to  keep  up  their  military  and 
commercial  communications.  The  grandest  of  all,  which  like 
the  Appian  might  be  termed  the  Queen  of  Roads,  ran  from 
Merida,  the  capital  of  Lusitania,  to  Salamanca.  It  was  laid 
down  like  a  Cyclopean  wall,  and  much  of  it  remains  to  this  day, 
with  the  grey  granite  line  stretching  across  the  aromatic  wastes, 
like  the  vertebroe  of  an  extinct  mammoth.  We  have  followed  for 
miles  its  course,  which  is  indicated  by  the  still  standing  miliary 
columns  that  rise  above  the  cistus  underwood  ;  here  and  there 
tall  forest  trees  grow  out  of  the  stone  pavement,  and  show  how 
long  it  has  been  abandoned  by  man  to  Nature  ever  young  and 
gay,  who  thus  by  uprooting  and  displacing  the  huge  blocks 
slowly  recovers  her  rights.  She  festoons  the  ruins  with  necklaces 
of  flowers  and  creepers,  and  hides  the  rents  and  wrinkles  of  odious, 
all-dilapidating  Time,  or  man's  worse  neglect,  as  a  pretty  maid 
decorates  a  shrivelled  dowager's  with  diamonds.  The  Spanish 
muleteer  creeps  along  by  its  side  in  a  track  which  he  has  made 
through  the  sand  or  pebbles ;  he  seems  ashamed  to  trample  on 
this  lordly  way,  for  which,  in  his  petty  wants,  he  has  no  occasion. 
Most  of  the  similar  roads  have  been  taken  up  by  monks  to  raise 
convents,  by  burgesses  to  build  houses,  by  military  men  to  con- 
struct fortifications — thus  even  their  ruins  have  perished. 

The  mediaeval  Spanish  roads  were  the  works  of  the  clergy  ; 
and  the  long-bearded  monks,  here  as  elsewhere,  were  the  pioneers 
of  civilization  ;  they  made  straight,  wide,  and  easy  the  way  which 


led  to  their  convent,  their  high  place,  their  miracle  shrine,  or  to 
whatever  point  of  pilgrimage  that  was  held  out  to  the  devout ; 
traffic  was  soon  combined  with  devotion,  and  the  service  of  mam- 
mon with  that  of  God.  This  imitation  of  the  Oriental  practice 
which  obtained  at  Mecca,  is  evidenced  by  language  in  which  the 
Spanish  term  Feria  signifies  at  once  a  religious  function,  a  holi- 
day, and  a  fair.  Even  saints  condescended  to  become  waywar- 
dens, and  to  take  title  from  the  highway.  Thus  Santo  Domingo 
de  la  Calzada,  "  St.  Domenick  of  the  Paved  Road"  was  so 
called  from  his  having  been  the  first  to  make  one  through  a  part 
of  Old  Castile  for  the  benefit  of  pilgrims  on  their  way  to  Com- 
postella,  and  this  town  yet  bears  the  honoured  appellation. 

This  feat  and  his  legend  have  furnished  Southey  with  a  subject 
of  a  droll  ballad.     The  saint  having  finished  his  road,  next  set  up 
an   inn   or  Venta,  the  Mari tomes  of  which  fell  in  love  with  a 
handsome  pilgrim,  who  resisted  ;  whereupon  she  hid  some  spoons 
in  this  Joseph's  saddlebags,  who  was  taken  up  by  the  Alcalde, 
and  forlhwith  hanged.     But  his  parents  some  time  afterwards 
passed  under  the  body,  which  told  them  that  lie  was  innocent, 
alive,  and  well,  and  all  by  the  intercession  of  the  sainted  road- 
maker  ;  thereupon  they  proceeded  forthwith  to    the   truculent 
Alcalde,  who  was  going  to  dine  oflp  two  roasted  fowls,  and,  on 
hearing  their  report,  remarked,  You  might  as  well  tell  me  that 
this  cock   (pointing  to  his  roti)  would   crow ;  whereupon  it  did 
crow,  and  was  taken  with  its  hen   to  the  cathedral,  and  two 
chicks  have  ever  since  been  regularly  hatched  every  year  from 
these  respectable  parents,  of  which  a  travelling  ornithologist 
should  secure  one  for  the  Zoological  Garden.     The  cock  ano 
hen  were  duly  kept  near  the  high  altar,  and  their  white  feathers 
were  worn  by  pilgrims  in  their  caps.     Prudent  bagsmen  will 
however,  put  a  couple  of  ordinary  roast  fowls  into  their  "  pro- 
vend,"  for  hungry  is  this  said  road  to  Logrono. 

In  this  land  of  miracles,  anomalies,  and  contradictions,  the 
roads  to  and  from  this  very  Compostella  cire  now  detestable.  In 
other  provinces  of  Spain,  the  star-paved  milky  way  in  heaven  is 
called  El  Camino  de  Santiago,  the  road  of  St.  James ;  but  the 
Gallicians,  who  know  what  their  roads  really  are,  namely,  the 
worst  on  earth,  call  the  milky-way  El  Camino  de  Jerusalem, 
"  the  road  to  Jerusalem,"  which  it  assuredly  is  not.     The  an- 

44  ROAD  TO  TOLEDO.  [chap.  v. 

cients  poetically  attributed  this  phenomenon  to  some  spilt  milk 
of  Juno. 

JMeanwhile  the  roads  in  Gallicia,  although  under  the  patronage 
of  Santiago,  who  has  replaced  the  Roman  Hermes,  are,  like 
his  milky-way  in  heaven,  but  little  indebted  to  mortal  repairs. 
The  Dean  of  Santiago  is  waywarden  by  virtue  of  his  office  or 
dignity,  and  especially  "  protector,"  The  chapter,  however, 
now  chiefly  profess  to  make  smootli  the  road  to  a  better  world. 
They  have  altogether  degenerated  from  their  forefathers,  whose 
grand  object  was  to  construct  roads  for  the  pilgrim  ;  but  since 
the  cessation  of  offering-making  Hadjis,  little  or  nothing  has 
been  done  in  the  turnpike-trust  line. 

Some  of  the  finest  roads  in  Spain  lead  either  to  the  sitios  or 
royal  pleasure-seats  of  the  king,  or  wind  gently  up  some  elevated 
and  monastery-crowned  mountain  like  Monserrat.  The  ease  of 
the  despot  was  consulted,  while  that  of  his  subjects  was  neglected  ; 
and  the  Sultan  was  tlie  State,  Spain  was  his  property,  and  Spa- 
niards his  serfs,  and  willing  ones,  for  as  in  the  East,  their  perfect 
equality  amongst  each  other  was  one  result  of  the  immeasurable 
superiority  of  the  master  of  all.  Thus,  while  he  rolled  over  a 
road  hard  and  level  as  a  bowling-green,  and  rapidly  as  a  galloping 
team  could  proceed,  to  a  mere  summer  residence,  the  commu- 
nication between  Madrid  and  Toledo,  that  city  on  which  the  sun 
shone  on  the  day  light  was  made,  has  remained  a  mere  track 
ankle-deep  in  mud  during  winter  and  dust-clouded  during  sum- 
mer, and  changing  its  direction  with  the  caprice  of  wandering 
sheep  and  mideteers ;  but  Bourbon  Royalty  never  visited  this 
widowed  capital  of  the  Goths.  The  road  therefore  was  left  as  it 
existed  if  not  before  tlie  time  of  Adam,  at  least  before  Mac 
Adam.  There  is  some  talk  just  now  of  beginning  a  regular  road  ; 
when  it  will  be  finished  is  another  affair. 

The  church,  which  shared  with  the  state  in  dominion,  followed 
the  royal  example  in  consulting  its  own  comforts  as  to  roads. 
Nor  could  it  be  expected  in  a  torrid  land,  that  holy  men,  whose 
abdomens  occasionally  were  prominent  and  pendulous,  should 
lard  the  stony  or  sandy  earth  like  goats,  or  ascend  heaven-kiss- 
ing hills  so  expeditiously  as  their  prayers.  In  Spain  the  primary 
consideration  has  ever  been  the  souls,  not  the  bodies,  of  men,  or 
legs  of  beasts.     It  would  seem  indeed,  from  the  indifference 

CHAP,  v.]  EOAD  TO  LA  CORUNA.  45 

shown  to  the  sufferings  of  these  quadrupedal  blood -engines, 
3Iaqumas  de  sangre,  as  they  are  called,  and  still  more  from  the 
reckless  waste  of  biped  life,  that  a  man  was  of  no  value  until  he 
was  dead ;  then  what  admirable  contrivances  for  the  rapid  tra- 
velling of  his  winged  spirit,  first  to  purgatory,  next  out  again, 
and  thence  from  stage  to  stage  to  his  journey's  end  and  blessed 
rest !  More  money  has  been  thus  expended  in  masses  tlian  would 
have  covered  Spain  with  railroads,  even  on  a  British  scale  of 
magnificence  and  extravagance. 

To  descend  to  the  roads  of  the  peninsular  earth,  the  principal 
lines  are  nobly  planned.  These  geographical  arteries,  which 
form  the  circulation  of  the  country,  branch  in  every  direction 
from  Madrid,  which  is  the  centre  of  the  system.  The  road- 
making  spirit  of  Louis  XIV.  passed  into  his  Spanish  descendants, 
and  durins:  the  reiarns  of  Charles  III.  and  Charles  IV.  commu- 
nications  were  completed  between  the  capital  and  the  principal 
cities  of  the  provinces.  These  causeways,  "^rrff//e*  "■ — these 
royal  roads,  "  Caminos  reales" — were  planned  on  an  almost 
unnecessary  scale  of  grandeur,  in  regard  both  to  width,  parapets, 
and  general  execution.  The  high  road  to  La  Coruiia,  especially 
after  entering  Leon,  will  stand  comparison  with  any  in  Europe  ; 
but  when  Spaniards  finish  anything  it  is  done  in  a  grand  style, 
and  in  this  instance  the  expense  was  so  enormous  that  the  king 
inquired  if  it  was  paved  with  silver,  alluding  to  the  common 
Spanish  corruption  of  the  old  Roman  via  lata  into  "  camino  de 
plain,''  of  plate.  This  and  many  of  the  others  were  constructed 
from  fifty  to  seventy  years  ago,  and  very  much  on  the  M'Adam 
system,  which,  having  been  since  introduced  into  England,  has 
rendered  our  roads  so  very  different  from  wliat  they  were  not  very 
long  since.  The  war  in  the  Peninsula  tended  to  deteriorate  the 
Spanish  roads — when  bridges  and  other  conveniences  were  fre- 
quently destroyed  for  military  reasons,  and  tlie  exhausted  state  of 
the  finances  of  Spain,  and  troubled  times,  have  delayed  many  of  the 
more  costly  reparations  ;  yet  tliose  of  the  first  class  were  so  admir- 
ably constructed  at  the  beginning,  that,  in  spite  of  the  injuries  of 
war,  ruts,  and  neglect,  they  may,  as  a  whole,  be  pronounced  equal 
to  many  of  the  Continent,  and  are  infinitely  more  pleasant  to  the 
traveller  from  the  absence  of  pavement.  The  roads  in  England 
have,  indeed,  latterly  been  rendered  so  excellent,  and  we  are  so 

46  CROSS  ROADS.  [chap.  v. 

apt  to  compare  those  of  other  nations  with  them,  that  we  forget 
that  fifty  years  ago  Spain  was  in  advance  in  that  and  many  other 
respects.  Spain  remains  very  mucli  what  other  countries  were : 
she  has  stood  on  her  old  ways,  moored  to  the  anchor  of  prejudice, 
while  we  have  progressed,  and  consequently  now  appears  behind- 
hand in  many  things  in  which  she  set  the  fashion  to  England. 

The  grand  royal  roads  start  from  Madrid,  and  run  to  the  prin- 
cipal frontier  and  sea-port  towns.  Thus  the  capital  may  be 
compared  to  a  spider,  as  it  is  the  centre  of  the  Peninsular  web. 
These  diverging  fan- like  lines  are  sufficiently  convenient  to  all 
who  are  about  to  journey  to  any  single  terminus,  but  inter-commu- 
nications are  almost  entirely  wanting  between  any  one  terminus 
with  another.  This  scanty  condition  of  the  Peninsular  roads 
accounts  for  the  very  limited  portions  of  the  country  which  are 
usually  visited  by  foreigners,  who — the  French  especially — keep 
to  one  beaten  track,  the  high  road,  and  follow  each  other  like 
wild  geese  ;  a  visit  to  Burgos,  Madrid,  and  Seville,  and  tlien  a 
steam  trip  from  Cadiz  to  Valencia  and  Barcelona,  is  considered 
to  be  making  the  grand  tour  of  Spain  ;  thus  the  world  is  favoured 
with  volumes  that  reflect  and  repeat  each  other,  which  tell  us 
what  we  know  already,  while  the  rich  and  rare,  the  untrodden, 
unchanged,  and  truly  Moro-Hispanic  portions  are  altogether 
neglected,  except  by  the  exceptional  few,  who  venture  forth 
like  Don  Quixote  on  their  horses,  in  search  of  adventures  and 
the  picturesque. 

The  other  roads  of  Spain  are  bad,  but  not  much  more  so  than 
in  other  parts  of  the  Continent,  and  serve  tolerably  well  in  dry 
weather.  Tiiey  are  divided  into  those  which  are  practicable  for 
wheel-carriages,  and  those  which  are  only  bridle-roads,  or  as 
they  call  them,  "  of  horseshoe,"  on  which  all  thought  of  going 
with  a  carriage  is  out  of  the  question  ;  when  these  horse  or  mule 
tracks  are  very  bad,  especially  among  the  mountains,  they  com- 
pare them  to  roads  for  partridges.  The  cross  roads  are  seldom 
tolerable  ;  it  is  safest  to  keep  the  high-road — or,  as  we  have  it 
in  English,  the  furthest  way  round  is  the  nearest  way  home — for 
there  is  no  short  cut  without  hard  work,  says  the  Spanish  proverb, 
"  ho  hay  atajo,  sin  trahajo." 

All  this  sounds  very  unpromising,  but  those  who  adopt  the 
customs  of  the  country  will  never  find  much  practical  difficulty  in 

CHAP.  V.  1  TRAVELLING.  47 

getting  to  their  journey's  end  ;  slowly,  it  is  true,  for  where  leagues 
and  hours  are  convertible  terms — the  Spanish  Jiora  being  the 
heavy  German  stunde — the  distance  is  regulated  by  the  day-light. 
Bridle-roads  and  travelling  on  horseback,  the  former  systems 
of  Europe,  are  very  Spanish  and  Oriental ;  and  where  people 
journey  on  horse  and  mule  back,  tlie  road  is  of  minor  import- 
ance. In  the  remoter  provinces  of  Spain  the  population  is  agri- 
cultural and  poverty-stricken,  unvisiting  and  unvisited,  nor  going 
much  beyond  their  chimney's  smoke.  Each  family  provides  for 
its  simple  habits  and  few  wants  ;  having  but  little  money  to  buy 
foreign  connuodities,  they  are  clad  and  fed,  like  the  Bedouins, 
with  the  productions  of  their  own  fields  and  flocks.  There  is 
little  circulation  of  persons  ;  a  neighbouring  fair  is  the  mart 
where  they  obtain  the  annual  supply  of  whatever  luxury  they  can 
indulge  in,  or  it  is  brought  to  their  cottages  by  wandering  nmle- 
teers,  or  by  the  smuggler,  who  is  the  type  and  channel  of  the 
really  active  principle  of  trade  in  three-fourths  of  the  Penin- 
sula. It  is  wonderful  how  soon  a  well-mounted  traveller  be- 
comes attached  to  travelling  on  horseback,  and  how  quickly  he 
becomes  reconciled  to  a  state  of  roads  which,  startling  at  first 
to  those  accustomed  to  carriage  highways,  are  found  to  answer 
perfectly  for  all  the  purposes  of  the  place  and  people  where  they 
are  found. 

Let  us  say  a  few  things  on  Spanish  railroads,  for  the  mania  of 
England  has  surmounted  the  Pyrenees,  although  confined  rather 
more  to  words  than  deeds  ;  in  fivct,  it  has  been  said  that  no  rail 
exists,  in  any  country  of  either  the  new  world  or  the  old  one,  in 
which  the  Spanish  language  is  spoken,  probably  from  other  ob- 
jections than  those  merely  philologiQal.  Again,  in  other  coun- 
tries roads,  canals,  and  traffic  usher  in  the  rail,  whicli  in  Spain 
is  to  precede  and  introduce  them.  Thus,  by  the  prudent  delays 
of  national  caution  and  procrastination,  much  of  the  trouble  and 
expense  of  these  intermediate  stages  will  be  economized,  and  Spain 
will  jump  at  once  from  a  mediaeval  condition  into  the  com- 
forts and  glories  of  Great  Britain,  ihe  land  of  restless  travellers. 
Be  that  as  it  may,  just  now  there  is  much  talk  of  railroads,  and 
splendid  official  and  other  documentos  are  issued,  by  which  the 
"  whole  country  is  to  be  intersected  (on  paper)  with  a  net-work 
of  rapid   and    bowling-green    communications,"   v\hich   are   to 

48  CONTEiMPLATED  RAILROADS.  [chap.  v. 

create  a  "  perfect  homogeneity  among  Spaniards  ;"'  for  great  as 
have  been  the  labours  of  Herculean  steam,  this  amalgamation 
of  the  Iberian  rope  of  sand  has  properly  been  reserved  for  the 
crowning  performance. 

It  would  occupy  too  much  space  to  specify  the  infinite  lines 
which  are  in  contemplation,  which  may  be  described  when  com- 
pleted. Suffice  it  to  say,  that  they  almost  all  are  to  be  effected 
by  the  iron  and  gold  of  England.  However  this  estrangerismo, 
this  influence  of  the  foreigner,  may  offend  the  sensitive  pride, 
the  EspaTiolismo  of  Spain,  the  power  of  resistance  offered  by  the 
national  indolence  and  dislike  to  change,  must  be  propelled 
by  British  steam,  with  a  dash  of  French  revolution.  Yet  our 
speculators  might,  perhaps,  reflect  that  Spain  is  a  land  which 
never  yet  has  been  able  to  construct  or  support  even  a  sufficient 
number  of  common  roads  or  canals  for  her  poor  and  passive 
commerce  and  circulation.  The  distances  are  far  too  great,  and 
the  traffic  far  too  small,  to  call  yet  for  tlie  rail ;  while  the  geolo- 
gical formation  of  the  country  offers  difficulties  which,  if  met 
with  even  in  England,  would  baffle  tlie  colossal  science  and 
extravagance  of  our  first-rate  engineers.  Spain  is  a  land  of 
mountains,  which  rise  everywhere  in  Alpine  barriers,  walling  off 
province  from  province,  and  district  from  district.  These 
mighty  cloud-capped  sierras  are  solid  masses  of  hard  stone,  and 
any  tunnels  which  ever  perforate  their  ranges  will  reduce  that 
at  Box  to  the  delving  of  the  poor  mole.  You  might  as  well 
cover  Switzerland  and  the  Tyrol  with  a  net-work  of  level  lines, 
as  those  caught  in  the  aforesaid  net  will  soon  discover  to  their  ^ 
cost.  The  outlay  of  this  up-hill  work  may  be  in  an  inverse  ratio 
to  the  remuneration,  for  the  one  will  be  enormous,  and  the  other 
paltry.  The  parturient  mountains  may  produce  a  most  musipular 
interest,  and  even  that  may  be  "  deferred." 

Spain,  again,  is  a  land  of  dehesas  y  despohlados :  in  these  wild 
unpeopled  wastes,  next  to  travellers,  commerce  and  cash  are 
what  is  scarce,  while  even  Madrid,  the  capital,  is  without  in- 
dustry or  resources,  and  poorer  than  many  of  our  provincial 
cities.  The  Spaniard,  a  creature  of  routine  and  foe  to  innova- 
tions, is  not  a  moveable  or  locomotive ;  local,  and  a  parochial 
fixture  by  nature,  he  hates  moving  like  a  Turk,  and  has  a  par- 
ticular horror  of  being  hurried ;  long,  therefore,  here  has  an 


ambling  mule  answered  all  the  purposes  of  transporting-  man  and 
his  goods.  Who  again  is  to  do  the  work  even  if  England  will 
pay  the  wages?  The  native,  next  to  disliking  regular  sustained 
labour  himself,  abhors  seeing  the  foreigner  toiling  even  in  his 
service,  and  wasting  his  gold  and  sinews  in  the  thankless  task. 
The  villagers,  as  they  always  have  done,  will  rise  against  the 
stranger  and  heretic  who  comes  to  "  suck  the  wealtli  of  Spain." 
Supposing,  however,  by  the  aid  of  Santiago  and  Brunei,  that  the 
work  were  possible  and  were  completed,  how  is  it  to  be  secured 
against  the  fierce  action  of  the  sun,  and  the  fiercer  violence  of 
popular  ignoi'ance  ?  The  first  cholera  that  visits  Spain  will  be 
set  down  as  a  passenger  per  rail  by  the  dispossessed  muleteer, 
who  now  performs  the  functions  of  steam  and  rail.  He  consti- 
tutes one  of  the  most  luunerous  and  finest  classes  in  Spain,  and 
is  the  legitimate  channel  of  the  semi-Oriental  caravan  system. 
He  will  never  permit  the  bread  to  be  taken  out  of  his  mouth  by 
this  Lutheran  locomotive:  deprived  of  means  of  earning  his 
livelihood,  he,  like  the  smuggler,  will  take  to  the  road  in  another 
line,  and  both  will  become  either  robbers  or  patriots.  Many, 
long,  and  lonely  are  the  leagues  which  separate  town  from  town 
in  the  wide  deserts  of  thinly-peopled  Spain,  nor  will  any  pre- 
ventive service  be  sufficient  to  guard  the  rail  against  the  guer- 
rilla warfare  that  may  then  be  waged.  A  handful  of  opponents 
in  any  cistus-overgrown  Maste,  may  at  any  time,  in  five  minutes, 
break  up  the  road,  stop  the  train,  stick  the  stoker,  and  burn  the 
engines  in  their  own  fire,  particularly  smashing  the  luggage- 
train.  What,  again,  has  ever  been  the  recompense  which  the 
foreigner  has  met  with  from  Spain  but  breach  of  promise  and 
ingratitude?  He  will  be  used,  as  in  the  East,  until  the  native 
thinks  that  he  has  mastered  his  arts,  and  then  he  will  be  abused, 
cast  out,  and  trodden  under  foot ;  and  who  then  will  keep  up 
and  repair  the  costly  artificial  undertaking? — certainly  not  the 
Spaniard,  on  whose  pericranium  the  bumps  of  operative  skill  and 
mechanical  construction  have  yet  to  be  developed. 

The  lines  which  are  the  least  sure  of  failure  will  be  those 
which  are  the  sliortest,  and  pass  through  a  level  countiy  of  some 
natural  productions,  such  as  oil,  wine,  and  coal.  Certainly,  if 
the  rail  can  be  laid  down  in  Spain  by  the  gold  and  science  of 
England,  the  gift,  like  that  of  steam,  will  be  worthy  of  the 



Ocean's  Queen,  and  of  the  world's  real  leader  of  civilization  ;  and 
what  a  change  will  then  come  over  the  spirit  of  the  Peninsula  ! 
how  the  siestas  of  torpid  man-vegetation,  will  be  disturbed  by 
the  shrill  whistle  and  panting  snort  of  the  monster  engine !  how 
the  seals  of  this  long  hermetically  shut-up  land  will  be  broken  ! 
how  the  cloistered  obscure,  and  dreams  of  treasures  in  heaven, 
will  be  enlightened  by  the  flashing  fire-demon  of  the  wide-awake 
money- worshipper  !  what  owls  will  be  vexed,  wliat  bats  dispos- 
sessed, what  drones,  mules,  and  asses  will  be  scared,  run  over, 
and  annihilated  !  Those  who  love  Spain,  and  pray,  like  the 
author,  daily  for  her  prosperity,  must  indeed  hope  to  see  this 
"net-work  of  rails"  concluded,  l)ut  will  take  especial  care  at 
the  same  time  not  to  invest  one  farthing  in  the  imposing  specu- 

Recent  results  have  fully  justified  daring  this  year  what  was 
prophesied  last  year  in  the  Hand-Book  :  our  English  agents  and 
engineers  were  received  with  almost  divine  honours  by  the 
Spaniards,  so  incensed  were  they  with  flattery  and  cigars.  Their 
shares  were  instantaneously  subscribed  for,  and  directors  nomi- 
nated, with  names  and  titles  longer  even  than  the  lines,  and  the 
smallest  contributions  in  cash  were  thankfully  accepted  : — 

"  L'argent  dans  une  bourse  entre  agreablement ; 
Mais  le  terme  venu,  quaud  il  faut  le  rendre, 
C'est  alors  que  les  douleurs  commencent  a  nous  prendre." 

When  the  period  for  booking  up,  for  making  the  first  instalments, 
arrived,  the  Spanish  shareholders  were  found  somewhat  wanting : 
they  repudiated  ;  for  in  the  Peninsula  it  has  long  been  easier  to 
promise  than  to  pay.  Again,  on  the  only  line  which  seems 
likely  to  be  carried  out  at  present,  that  of  Madrid  to  Aranjuez, 
the  first  step  taken  by  them  was  to  dismiss  all  English  engineers 
and  navvies,  on  the  plea  of  encouraging  native  talent  and  in- 
dustry rather  than  the  foreigner.  Many  of  the  English  home 
proceedings  would  border  on  the  ridiculous,  were  not  the  laugh 
of  some  speculators  rather  on  the  wrong  side.  Tlie  City 
capitalists  certainly  have  our  pity,  and  if  their  plethora  of 
wealth  required  the  relief  of  bleeding,  it  could  not  be  better 
performed  than  by  a  Spanish  Sangrado.  How  different  some  of 
the  windings-up,  the  final  reports,  to  the  magnificent  beginnings 
and  grandiloquent  prospectuses  put  forth  as  baits  for  John  Bull, 


wlio  hoped  to  be  tossed  at  once,  or  elevated,  from  haberdashery  to 
a  throne,  by  being  offered  a  "potentiality  of  getting  rich  beyond 
the  dreams  of  avarice  !"  TIius,  to  clench  assertion  by  example, 
the  London  directors  of  the  Royal  Valencia  Company  made 
known  by  an  advertisement  only  last  Jidy,  tliat  they  merely  re- 
quired 240,000,000  reals  to  connect  the  seaport  of  Valencia — 
where  there  is  none — to  the  capital  Madrid,  with  800,000  inha- 
bitants,— there  not  being  200,000.  One  brief  passage  alone 
seemed  ominous  in  the  lucid  array  of  prospective  profit — "  The 
line  has  not  yet  been  minutely  surveyed ;"  this  might  have 
suggested  to  the  noble  Marquis  whose  attractive  name  heads  the 
provisional  committee  list,  the  difficulty  of  Sterne's  traveller,  of 
whom,  when  observing  how  much  better  things  were  managed 
on  the  Continent  than  in  England,  the  question  was  asked, 
"  Have  you,  sir,  ever  been  there  ?  " 

A  still  wilder  scheme  was  broached,  to  connect  Aviles  on  the 
Atlantic  with  Madrid,  the  Asturian  Alps  and  the  Guadarrama 
mountains  to  the  contrary  notwithstanding.  The  originator  of 
this  ingenious  idea  was  to  receive  40,000/,  for  the  cession  of  his 
plan  to  the  company,  and  actually  did  receive  25,000/.,  which, 
considering  the  difficulties,  natural  and  otherwise,  must  be  con- 
sidered an  inadequate  remuneration.  Although  the  original  and 
captivating  prospectus  stated  "  that  the  line  laid  been  surveyed, 
and  presented  no  engineering  difficulties"  it  was  subsequently 
thought  prudent  to  obtain  some  notion  of  the  actual  localities, 
and  Sir  Joshua  Walmsley  was  sent  forth  with  competent  assist- 
ance to  spy  out  the  land,  which  the  Jewish  practice  of  old  was 
rather  to  do  before  than  after  serious  undertakings.  A  sad 
change  soon  came  over  the  spirit  of  the  London  dream  by  the 
discovery  that  a  country  which  looked  level  as  Arrowsmith's 
map  in  the  prospectus,  presented  such  trifiing  obstacles  to  the 
rail  as  sundry  leagues  of  mountain  ridges,  which  range  from 
6000  to  9000  feet  high,  and  are  covered  with  snow  for  many 
months  of  the  year.  This  was  a  damper.  The  report  of  the 
special  meeting  (see  'Morning  Chronicle,'  Dec.  18,  1845) 
sliouhl  be  printed  in  letters  of  gold,  from  the  quantity  of  that 
article  wiiieh  it  will  preserve  to  our  credulous  countrymen. 
Then  and  there  the  chairman  observed,  with  equal  naivete 
and   pathos,    "  that   had  he  known  as   much  before  as  he   did 


52  LONDON  KAILROAD  MEETINGS.  [chap.  v. 

now,  he  would  have  been  the  last  man  to  carry  out  a  railway 
in  Spain."  This  experience  cost  him,  he  observed,  5000/., 
which  is  paying  dear  for  a  Spanish  rail  whistle.  He  might  for 
five  pounds  have  bought  the  works  of  Townshend  and  Captain 
Cook:  our  modesty  prevents  the  naming  another  red  book,  in 
which  these  precise  localities,  these  mighty  Alps,  are  described 
by  persons  who  had  ridden,  or  rather  soared,  over  them.  At 
another  meeting  of  another  Spanish  rail  company,  held  at  the 
London  Tavern,  October  20,  1846,  another  chairman  announced 
"  a  fact  of  which  he  was  not  before  aware,  that  it  was  impossible 
to  surmount  the  Pyrenees."  Meanwhile,  the  Madrid  govern- 
ment had  secured  30,000/.  from  them  by  way  of  caution  money ; 
but  caution  disappears  from  our  capitalists,  whenever  excess  of 
cash  mounts  from  their  pockets  into  their  heads ;  loss  of  com- 
mon sense  and  dollars  is  the  natural  result.  But  it  is  the  fate  of 
Spain  and  her  things,  to  be  judged  of  by  those  who  have  never 
been  there,  and  wiio  feel  no  sliame  at  the  indecency  cf  the 
nakedness  of  their  geographical  ignorance.  "When  the  blind  lead 
the  blind,  beware  of  hillocks  and  ditches. 

CHAP.  vi.J  POST-OFFICE.  53 


Post-OfEce  in  Spain — Travelling  with  post-horses — Riding  post — IMaiis  and 
Diligences,  Galeras,  Coches  de  Colleras,  Drivers,  and  Manner  of  Driving, 
and  Oaths. 

A  SYSTEM  of  post,  both  for  the  despatch  of  letters  and  the  con- 
veyance of  couriers,  was  introduced  into  Spain  under  Philip  and 
Juana,  that  is,  towards  the  end  of  the  reign  of  our  Henry  VII.  ; 
whereas  it  was  scarcely  organised  in  England  before  the  govern- 
ment of  Cromv.ell.  Spain,  which  in  these  matters,  as  well  as  in 
many  others,  was  once  so  much  in  advance,  is  now  compelled  to 
borrow  her  improvements  from  tliose  nations  of  wliich  she  for- 
merly was  the  instructress  :  among  these  may  be  reckoned  all 
travelling  in  carriages,  whether  public  or  private. 

The  post-office  for  letters  is  arranged  on  the  plan  common  to 
most  countries  on  the  Continent :  the  delivery  is  pretty  regular, 
but  seldom  daily— twice  or  three  times  a- week.  Small  scruple  is 
made  by  the  authorities  in  opening  private  letters,  whenever  they 
suspect  the  character  of  the  correspondence.  It  is  as  well,  there- 
fore, for  the  traveller  to  avoid  expressing  tlie  whole  of  his  opi- 
nions of  the  powers  that  be.  The  minds  of  men  have  been  long 
troubled  in  Spain  ;  civil  war  has  rendered  them  very  distrustful 
and  guarded  in  tlieir  written  correspondence — "  carta  canta" 
"  a  letter  speaks." 

There  is  the  usual  continental  bother  in  obtaining  post-horses, 
which  results  from  their  being  a  monopoly  of  government. 
There  must  be  a  passport,  an  official  order,  notice  of  departure, 
&c. ;  next  ensue  vexatious  regulations  in  regard  to  the  number 
of  passengers,  horses,  luggage,  style  of  carriage,  and  so  forth. 
These,  and  other  spokes  put  into  the  wheel,  appear  to  have  been 
invented  by  clerks  who  sit  at  home  devising  how  to  impede 
rather  than  facilitate  posting  at  all. 

Post-horses  and  mujes  are  paid  at  the  rate  of  seven  reals  each 

54  PUBLIC  CONVEYANCES.  [chap.  vi. 

for  each  post.  The  Spanisli  postilions  generally,  and  espe- 
cially if  well  paid,  drive  at  a  tremendous  pace,  often  amount- 
ing to  a  gallop  ;  nor  are  they  easily  stopped,  even  if  the 
traveller  desires  it — they  seem  only  to  be  intent  on  arriving  at 
their  stages'  end,  in  order  to  indulge  in  the  great  national  joy  of 
then  doing  nothing :  to  get  there,  they  heed  neither  ruts  nor 
ravines ;  and  when  once  their  cattle  are  started  the  inside  pas- 
senger feels  like  a  kettle  tied  to  the  tail  of  a  mad  dog,  or  a 
comet;  the  wild  beasts  think  no  more  of  him  tlian  if  he  were 
Mazeppa  :  thus  money  makes  the  mare  and  its  driver  to  go,  as 
surely  in  Spain  as  in  all  other  countries. 

Another  mode  of  travelling  is  by  riding  post,  accompanied  by 
a  mounted  postilion,  who  is  changed  with  the  cattle  at  each  relay. 
It  is  an  expeditious  but  fatiguing  plan  ;  yet  one  which,  like  the 
Tartar  courier  of  the  East,  has  long  prevailed  in  Spain.  Thus 
our  Charles  I.  rode  to  Madrid  under  the  name  of  John  Smith,  by 
v.'hich  he  was  not  likely  to  be  identified.  The  delight  of  Philip  II., 
who  boasted  that  he  governed  the  world  from  the  Escorial,  was 
ti.  receive  frequent  and  early  intelligence ;  and  this  desire  to 
hear  something  new  is  still  characteristic  of  the  Spanish  govern- 
ment. The  cabinet-couriers  have  the  preference  of  horses  at 
every  relay.  The  particular  distances  tliey  have  to  perform  are 
all  timed,  and  so  many  leagues  are  required  to  be  done  in  a  fixed 
time  ;  and,  in  order  to  encourage  despatch,  for  every  hour  gained 
on  the  allowed  time,  an  additional  sum  was  paid  to  them :  hence 
the  common  expression  "  ganando  horas"  gaining  hours — equi- 
valent to  our  old  "  post  haste — haste  for  your  life." 

The  usual  mode  of  travelling  for  the  affluent  is  in  the  public 
conveyances,  which  are  the  fashion  from  being  novelties  and  only 
introduced  under  Ferdinand  VII.  ;  previously  lo  their  being 
allowed  at  all,  serious  objections  were  started,  similar  to  those 
laised  by  his  late  Holiness  to  the  introduction  of  railways  into 
the  papal  states ;  it  was  said  that  these  tramontane  facilities 
would  bring  in  foreigners,  and  with  them  philosophy,  heresy, 
and  innovations,  by  which  the  wisdom  of  Spain's  ancestors  might 
be  vipset.  These  scruples  were  ingeniously  got  over  by  bribing 
the  monarch  with  a  large  share  of  the  profits.  Now  that  the 
royal  monopoly  is  broken  down,  many  new  and  competing  com- 
panies have  sprung  up ;  tliis  mode  of  travelling  is  the  cheapest 


and  safest,  nor  is  it  thought  at  all  beneath  the  dignity  of  "  the  best 
set,"  nay  roj-alty  itself  goes  by  the  coach.    Thus  the  Infante  Don 
Francisco  de  Paula  constantly  hires  the  whole  of  tlie  diligence 
to  convey  himself  and  his  family  from  Madrid  to  the  sea-coast ; 
and  one  reason  gravely  given  for  Don  Enrique's  not  coming  to 
marry  the  Queen,  was  that  his  Royal  Highness  could  not  get  a 
place,  as  the  dilly  was  booked  full.     The  public  carriages  of 
Spain  are  quite  as  good  as  those  of  France,  and  the  company 
who  travel  in  them  generally  more  respectable  and  better  bred. 
This  is  partly  accounted  for  by  the  expense :  the  fares  are  not 
very  high,  yet  still  form  a  serious  item  to  the  bulk  of  Spaniards  ; 
consequently  those  who  travel  in  the  public  carriages  in  Spain  are 
tlie  class  who  would  in  other  countries  travel  per  post.     It  must, 
however,  be  admitted  that  all   travelling  in   the  public  convey- 
ances of  the   Continent  necessarily  implies    great  discomfort  to 
those  accustomed  to  their  own  carriages;  and  with  every  possible 
precaution  the   long  journeys  in  Spain,  of  three  to  five  hundred 
miles  at  a  stretch,  are  such  as  few  English  ladies  can  undergo, 
and  are,  even  with  men,  undertakings  rather  of  necessity  than 
of  pleasure.     The  mail  is  organized  on  the  plan  of  the  French 
malle-poste,  and  offers,  to  those  who  can  stand  the  bumping,  shak- 
ing, and  churning  of  continued  and  rapid  travelling  without  halt- 
ing, a  means  of  locomotion  which  leaves  nothing  to  be  desired. 
The  diligences  also  are    imitations   of  the    lumbering    French 
model.     It  will  be  in  vain  to  expect  in  them  the  neatness,  the 
well-appointed    turn-out,   the  quiet,   time-keeping,  and    infinite 
facilities  of  the  English  original.     These  matters  when  passed 
across  the  water  are  modified  to  the  heroic  Continental  contempt 
for  doing  things  in  style ;  cheapness,  which  is  their  great  prin- 
ciple, prefers  rope-traces  to  tliose  of  leather,  and  a  carter  to  a 
regular  coacinrian  ;  the  usual  foreign  drags    also   exist,   which 
render  their  slow  coaches  and  bureaucratic  absurdities  so  hateful 
to  free  Britons  ;  but   when  one  is  once  booked  and  handed  over 
to  the  conductor,  you  arrive   in  due  time  at  tlie  journey's  end. 
The  "  guards"  are  realities  ;  they  consist  of  stout,  armed,  most 
picturesque,  robber-like  men  and  no  mistake,  since  many,  before 
they  were  pardoned  and  pensioned,  have  frequently  taken  a  purse 
on  the  Queen's  highway ;  for  the  foreground  of  your  first  sketch, 
they  are  splendid  fellows,  and  worth  a  score  of  marshals.     They 

5G  EXPENSES  ON  THE  EOAD.  [chap.  vr. 

are  provided  with  a  complete  arsenal  of  swords  and  blunder- 
busses, so  that  the  cumbrous  macliine  rolling-  over  the  sea  of 
plains  looks  like  a  man-of-war,  and  has  been  compared  to  a 
marching  citadel.  Again  in  suspicious  localities  a  mounted  escort 
of  equally  suspicious  look  gallops  alongside,  nor  is  the  primitive 
practice  of  black  mail  altogether  neglected  :  the  consequence  of 
these  admirable  precautions  is,  that  the  diligences  are  seldom  or 
never  robbed ;  the  tiling,  however,  is  possible. 

The  whole  of  this  garrisoned  Noali's  ark  is  placed  under  the 
command  of  the  Mayoral  or  conductor,  who  like  all  Spanish 
men  in  authority  is  a  despot,  and  yet,  like  them,  is  open  to  the 
conciliatory  influences  of  a  bribe.  He  regulates  the  hours  of 
toil  and  sleep,  which  latter — blessings,  says  Sancho,  on  the  man 
who  invented  it  !^ — is  uncertain,  and  depends  on  the  early  or  late 
arrival  of  the  diligence  and  the  state  of  the  roads,  for  all  that  is 
lost  of  the  fixed  time  on  the  road  is  made  up  for  "by  curtailing 
the  time  allowed  for  repose.  One  of  the  many  good  effects  of 
setting  up  diligences  is  the  bettering  the  inns  on  the  road  ;  and  it 
is  a  safe  and  general  rule  to  travellers  in  Spain,  whatever  be 
tlieir  vehicle,  always  to  inquire  in  every  town  which  is  the  posada 
that  tlie  diligence  stops  at.  Persons  were  dispatched  from  Madrid 
to  the  different  stations  on  the  great  lines,  to  fit  up  houses, 
bed-rooms,  and  kitchens,  and  provide  everything  for  table 
service ;  cooks  were  sent  round  to  teach  the  innkeepers  to  set 
out  and  prepare  a  proper  dinner  and  supper.  Thus,  in  villages 
in  which  a  few  years  before  the  use  of  a  fork  was  scarcely  known, 
a  table  was  laid  out,  clean,  well  served,  and  abundant.  The 
example  set  by  the  diligence  inns  has  produced  a  beneficial  effect, 
since  they  offer  a  model,  create  competition,  and  suggest  the 
existence  of  many  comforts,  which  were  hitherto  unknown  among 
Spaniards,  whose  abnegation  of  material  enjoyments  at  home, 
and  praiseworthy  en(kuance  of  privations  of  all  kinds  on  jour- 
neys, are  quite  Oriental. 

In  some  of  the  new  companies  every  expense  is  calculated  in 
the  fare,  to  wit,  journey,  postilions,  inns,  &c.,  which  is  very 
convenient  to  tlie  stranger,  and  prevents  the  loss  of  much  money 
and  temper.  A  chapter  on  the  dilly  is  as  much  a  standing  dish 
in  every  Peninsular  tour  as  a  bullfiglit  or  a  bandit  adventure, 
for  which  there  is  a  continual  demand  in  the  home-market ;  and 



no  doubt  in  the  long  distances  of  Spain,  where  men  and  women 
are  boxed  up  for  three  or  four  mortal  days  together  (the  nights 
not  being  omitted),  the  plot  thickens,  and  opportunity  is  afforded 
to  appreciate  costume  and  character ;  the  farce  or  tragedy  may 
be  spun  out  into  as  many  acts  as  the  journey  takes  days.  In 
general  the  order  of  the  course  is  as  follows :  the  breakfast  con- 
sists at  early  dawn  of  a  cup  of  good  stiff  chocolate,  which  being 
the  favourite  drink  of  the  clmrch  and  allowable  even  on  fast 
days,  is  as  nutritious  as  delicious.  It  is  accompanied  by  a  bit 
of  roasted  or  fried  bread,  and  is  followed  by  a  glass  of  cold 
water,  to  drink  which  is  an  axiom  with  all  v.ise  men  who  respect 
the  eflicient  condition  of  their  livers.  After  rumbling  on,  over  a 
given  number  of  leagues,  when  the  passengers  get  Avell  shaken 
together  and  hungry,  a  regular  knife  and  fork  breakfast  is  pro- 
vided that  closely  resembles  the  dinner  or  supper  Avhicli  is  served 
up  later  in  the  evening ;  the  table  is  plentiful,  and  the  cookery 
to  those  who  like  oil  and  garlic  excellent.  Those  who  do  not, 
can  always  fall  back  on  the  biead  and  eggs,  which  are  capital ; 
the  wine  is  occasionally  like  purple  blacking,  and  sometimes  serves 
also  as  vinegar  for  the  salad,  as  tlie  oil  is  said  to  be  used  indif- 
ferently for  lamps  or  stews ;  a  bad  dinner,  especially  if  the  bill 
be  long,  and  the  wine  souiy  does  not  sweeten  the  passengers' 
tempers ;  they  become  quarrelsome,  and  if  they  have  the  good 
luck,  a  little  robber  skirmish  gives  vent  to  ill-humour. 

At  nightfall  after  supper,  a  few  hours  are  allowed  on  your 
part  to  steal  whatever  rest  the  mayoral  and  certain  voltigeurs, 
creeping  and  winged,  will  permit ;  tiie  beds  are  plain  and  clean  ; 
sometimes  the  mattresses  may  be  compared  to  sacks  of  walnuts, 
but  there  is  no  pillow  so  soft  as  fatigue  ;  the  beds  are  generally 
arranged  in  tv/os,  threes,  and  fours,  according  to  the  size  of  the 
room.  The  traveller  should  immediately  on  arriving  secure  his, 
and  see  that  it  is  comfortable,  for  tliose  who  neglect  to  get  a 
good  one  must  sleep  in  a  bad.  Generally  speaking,  by  a  little 
management,  he  may  get  a  room  to  himself,  or  at  least  select  his 
companions.  There  is,  moreover,  a  real  civility  and  politeness 
shown  by  all  classes  of  Spaniards,  on  all  occasions,  towards 
strangers  and  ladies ;  and  that  even  failing,  a  small  tip,  "  una 
gratificacioncita"  given  beforehand  to  the  maid,  or  the  waiter, 
seldom  fails  to  smooth  all  difficulties.     On  these,  as  on  all  occa 

58  THE  GALERA.  [chap.  vi. 

sions  in  Spain,  most  tliing-s  may  be  obtained  by  good  liumour,  a 
smile,  a  joke,  a  proverb,  a  cigar,  or  a  bribe,  which,  tliougli  last, 
is  by  no  means  the  least  resource,  since  it  will  be  found  to  mollify 
the  hardest  heart  and  smootli  the  greatest  difficulties,  after  civil 
speeches  had  been  tried  in  vain,  for  Dadivas  quebrantan  peTias, 
y  entra  sin  harrenas,  gifts  break  rocks,  and  penetrate  without 
gimlets  ;  again,  Mas  ahlanda  dinero  que  palabras  de  Caballero, 
cash  softens  more  than  a  gentleman's  palaver.  The  mode  of 
driving  in  Spain,  which  is  so  unlike  our  way  of  handling  the 
ribbons,  will  be  described  presently. 

Means  of  convevance  for  those  who  cannot  afford  the  diliorence 
are  provided  by  vehicles  of  more  genuine  Spanish  nature  and 
discomfort ;  they  may  be  compared  to  the  neat  accommodation 
for  man  and  beast  which  is  doled  out  to  third-class  passengers 
by  our  monopolist  railway  kings,  v/ho  have  usurped  her  Majesty's 
highway,  and  fleece  her  lieges  by  virtue  of  act  of  Parlia- 

First  and  foremost  comes  the  galera,  which  fully  justifies  its 
name ;  and  even  those  who  have  no  value  for  their  time  or 
bones  will,  after  a  short  trial  of  the  rack  and  dislocation,  ex- 
claim,— ^'' que  diable  allais-je  faire  dans  cette  galeref  These 
machines  travel  periodically  from  town  to  town,  and  form  the 
chief  public  and  carrier  communication  between  most  provincial 
cities ;  they  are  not  much  changed  from  that  classical  cart,  the 
rheda,  into  which,  as  we  read  in  Juvenal,  the  whole  family  of 
Fabricius  was  conveyed.  In  Spain  these  primitive  locomotives 
have  stood  still  in  the  general  advance  of  this  age  of  progress, 
and  carry  us  back  to  our  James  I,,  and  Fynes  Moryson's 
accounts  of  "  carryers  who  have  long  covered  waggons,  in  which 
they  carry  passengers  from  city  to  city  ;  but  this  kind  of  jour- 
neying is  so  tedious,  by  reason  they  must  take  waggons  very 
early  and  come  very  late  to  their  innes,  none  but  women  and 
people  of  inferior  condition  used  to  travel  in  this  sort."  So  it  is 
now  in  Spain. 

This  yalcra  is  a  long  cart  without  springs  ;  the  sides  are  lined 
with  matting,  while  beneath  hangs  a  loose  open  net,  as  under  the 
calesinas  of  Naples,  in  which  lies  and  barks  a  horrid  dog,  who 
keeps  a  Cerberus  watch  over  iron  pots  and  sieves,  and  such  like 
gipsey   utensils,   and    who    is   never  to  be  conciliated.     These 


galeras  are  of  all  sizes ;  but  if  a  galera  should  be  a  larger  sort 
of  vehicle  than  is  wanted,  then  a  ''  tartana"  a  sort  of  covered 
tilted  cart,  which  is  very  common  in  Valencia,  and  which  is  so 
called  from  a  small  Mediterranean  craft  of  the  same  name,  will 
be  found  convenient. 

The  packing  and  departure  of  the  galera,  when  hired  by  a 
family  who  remove  their  goods,  is  a  thing  of  Spain  ;  the  heavy 
luggage  is  stowed  in  first,  and  beds  and  mattresses  spread  on  the 
top,  on  which  the  family  repose  in  admired  disorder.  The  galera 
is  much  used  by  the  "  poor  students"  of  Spain,  a  class  unique  of 
its  kind,  and  full  of  i-ags  and  impudence ;  their  adventures  have 
the  credit  of  being  rich  and  picturesque,  and  recall  some  of  the 
accoinits  of  "waggon  incidents"  in  '  Roderick  Eandom,'  and 
Smollett's. novels. 

Civilization,  as  connected  with  the  wheel,  is  still  at  a  low  ebb 
in  Spain,  notwitlistanding  the  numei'ous  political  revolutions. 
Except  in  a  few  great  towns,  the  quiz  vehicles  remind  us  of 
those  caricatures  at  which  one  laughed  so  heartily  iu  Paris  in 
1814;  and  in  Madrid,  evendown  to  Ferdinand  VII. 's  decease, 
the  Prado — its  rotten  row — Vv'as  filled  with  antediluvian  car- 
riages— grotesque  coachmen  and  footmen  to  match,  which  with 
us  would  be  put  into  the  British  Museum  ;  they  are  now,  alas 
for  painters  and  authors!  worn  out,  and  replaced  by  poor  French 
imitations  of  good  English  originals. 

As  the  genuine  older  Spanish  ones  were  built  in  remote  ages, 
and  before  the  invention  of  folding  steps,  the  ascent  and  descent 
were  facilitated  by  a  three-legged  footstool,  whicli  dangled, 
strapped  up  near  the  door,  as  appears  in  the  hieroglypliics  of  Egypt 
4000  years  ago ;  a  pair  of  long-eared  fat  mules,  with  hides  and 
tails  fantastically  cut,  was  driven  by  a  superannuated  postilion  in 
formidable  jackboots,  and  not  less  formidable  cocked  liat  of  oil- 
cloth. In  these,  how  often  have  we  seen  Spanish  grandees  with 
pedigrees  as  old-fashioned,  gravely  taking  the  air  and  dust! 
These  slow  coaches  of  old  Spain  have  been  rapidly  sketclied  by  the 
clever  young  American  ;  such  are  tlie  ups  and  downs  of  nations 
and  vehicles.  Spain  for  having  discovered  America  has  in  return 
become  her  butt;  she  cannot  goa-head;  so  the  great  dust  of 
Alexander  may  stop  a  bung-hole,  and  we  too  join  in  the  laugh 
and  forget  that  our  ancestors — see  Beaumont   and    Fletclier's 

so  THE  COCHE  DE  COLLERAS.  [chap.  vi. 

'  Maid  of  the  Inn  ' — talked  of  "  hurrying  on  featherbeds  that 
move  upon  four-wheel  Spanish  caroches.^^ 

While  on  these  wheel  subjects  it  may  be  observed  that  the  carts 
and  other  machines  of  Spanish  rural  locomotion  and  husbandry- 
have  not  escaped  better  ;  wlien  not  Oriental  they  are  Roman ; 
rude  in  form  and  material,  they  are  always  odd,  picturesque,  and 
inconvenient.  Tlie  peasant,  for  the  most  part,  scratches  the 
earth  witli  a  plough  modelled  after  that  invented  by  Triptolemus, 
beats  out  his  corn  as  described  by  Homer,  and  carries  his  harvest 
home  in  strict  obedience  to  the  rules  in  the  Georgics.  The  iron 
work  is  iniquitous,  but  both  sides  of  the  Pyrenees  are  centuries 
behind  England  ;  there,  absurd  tariffs  prohibit  the  importation 
of  our  cheap  and  good  work  in  order  to  encourage  their  own  bad 
and  dear  wares — thus  poverty  and  ignorance  are  perpetuated. 

The  carts  in  the  north-west  provinces  are  the  unchanged  plau- 
stra,  with  solid  wheels,  the  Roman  tympana  which  consist  of  mere 
circles  of  wood,  without  spokes  or  axles,  much  like  mill-stones 
or  Parmesan  cheeses,  and  precisely  such  as  the  old  Egyptians 
used,  as  is  seen  in  hieroglyphics,  and  no  doubt  much  resembling 
those  sent  by  Joseph  for  his  father,  which  are  still  used  by  the 
Affghans  and  other  unadvanced  coachraakers.  The  whole  wheel 
turns  round  together  with  a  piteous  creaking  ;  the  drivers,  whose 
leathern  ears  are  as  blunt  as  their  edgeless  teeth,  delight  in  this  ex- 
cruciating Chirrio,  Arabice  charrar,  to  make  atioise,  which  they 
call  music,  and  delight  in,  because  it  is  cheap  and  plays  to  them  of 
itself;  they,  moreover,  think  it  frightens  wolves,  bears,  and  the 
devil  himself,  as  Don  Quixote  says,  wliich  it  well  may,  for  the 
wheel  of  Ixion,  although  damned  in  hell,  never  whined  more 
piteously.  The  doleful  sounds,  however,  serve  like  our  waggoners' 
lively  bells,  as  warnings  to  other  drivers,  who,  in  narrow  paths 
and  gorges  of  rocks,  where  two  carriages  cannot  pass,  have  this 
notice  given  tliem,  and  draw  aside  until  tlie  coast  is  clear. 

We  have  reserved  some  details  and  the  mode  of  driving  for 
the  coche  de  colleras,  the  earache  of  horse-collars,  which  is  the 
real  coach  of  Spain,  and  in  which  we  have  made  many  a  pleasant 
trip  ;  it  too  is  doomed  to  be  scheduled  away,  for  Spaniards  are 
descending  from  these  coaches  and  six  to  a  cb.ariot  and  pair,  and 
by  desjrees  beautifully  less,  to  a  fly. 

Mails  and  diligences,  we  have  said,  are  only  established  on  the 


principal  high  roads  connected  with  Madrid  :  there  are  but  few 
local  coaches  which  run  from  one  provincial  town  to  another, 
where  the  necessity  of  frequent  and  certain  intercommunication 
is  little  called  for.  In  the  otlier  provinces,  where  these  modern 
conveniences  have  not  been  introduced,  the  earlier  mode  of  tra- 
velling is  the  only  resource  left  to  families  of  children,  women, 
and  invalids,  who  are  unable  to  perform  the  journey  on  horse- 
back. This  is  the  festina  lente,  or  voiturier  system  ;  and  from 
its  long  continuance  in  Italy  and  Spain,  in  spite  of  all  the  im- 
provements adopted  in  other  countries,  it  would  appe-ir  to  have 
something  congenial  and  peculiarly  fitted  to  the  habits  and  wants 
of  those  cognate  nations  of  the  south,  who  have  a  Gotho-Orientai 
dislike  to  be  hurried — no  corre  priesa,  there  is  plenty  of  time. 
Sie  haben  zeit  genug. 

The  Spanish  vetturino,  or  "  Calesero"  is  to  be  found,  as  in 
Italy,  standing  for  hire  in  particular  and  well-known  places  in 
every  principal  town.  There  is  not  much  necessity  for  hunting 
for  him ;  he  has  the  Italian  instinctive  perception  of  a  stranger 
and  traveller,  and  the  same  importunity  in  volunteering  himself, 
his  cattle,  and  carriage,  for  any  part  of  Spain.  The  man,  how- 
ever, and  his  equipage  are  peculiarly  Spanish  ;  his  carriage  and 
his  team  have  undergone  little  change  during  the  last  two  cen- 
turies, and  are  the  representatives  of  the  former  ones  of  Europe  ; 
they  resemble  those  vehicles  once  used  in  England,  which  may 
still  be  seen  in  the  old  prints  of  country-houses  by  Kip  ;  or,  as 
regards  France,  in  the  pictures  of  Louis  XIV. 's  journeys  and 
campaigns  by  Vandermeulen.  They  are  the  remnant  of  the 
once  universal  "  coach  and  six,"  in  which  accordina:  to  Pone, 
who  was  not  infallible,  British  fair  were  to  delight  for  ever. 
The  "  cache  de  colleras"  is  a  huge  cumbrous  machine,  built  after 
the  fashion  of  a  reduced  lord  mayor's  coach,  or  some  of  the 
equipages  of  the  old  cardinals  at  Rome.  It  is  ornamented  with 
rude  sculpture,  gilding,  and  painting  of  glaring  colour,  but  tiie 
modern  pea-jacket  and  round  hat  spoil  the  picture  wliich  requires 
passengers  dressed  in  brocade  and  full-bottomed  wigs ;  the  fore- 
wheels  are  very  low,  the  hind  ones  very  high,  and  both  remark- 
ably narrov/  in  the  tire;  remember  when  they  stick  in  the  mud, 
and  the  drivers  call  upon  Santiago,  to  push  the  vehicle  out  hack- 
wards,  as  the  more  you  draw  it  forwards  the  deeper  you  get  into 


THE  IMAYORAL.  [chap.  vi. 

the  mire.  The  pole  sticks  out  like  the  bowsprit  of  a  ship,  and 
contains  as  much  wood  and  iron  work  as  would  go  to  a  small 
wagg-on.  The  interior  is  lined  with  gay  silk  and  gaudy  plush, 
adorned  with  lace  and  embroidery,  with  doors  that  open  indiffer- 
ently and  windows  tliat  do  not  shut  well  ;  latterly  the  general 
poverty  and  prose  of  transpyrenean  civilization  has  effaced  much 
of  these  ornate  nationalities,  botli  in  coach  and  drivers;  better 
roads  and  lighter  vehicles  require  fewer  horses,  which  were 
absolutely  necessary  formerly  to  drag  the  heavy  concern  through 
heavier  ways. 

The  lusjimge  is  piled  up  behind,  or  stowed  away  in  a  front 
boot.  The  management  of  driving  this  vehicle  is  conducted  by 
two  persons.  The  master  is  called  the  "  mayoral  "  his  helper  or 
cad  the  "  mozo,''  or,  more  properly,  "  el  zagal"  from  the  Arabic, 
"a  strono-  active  youth."  The  costume  is  peculiar,  and  is  based 
on  that  of  Andalucia,  which  sets  the  fashion  all  over  the  Penin- 
sula, in  all  matters  regarding  bull-fighting,  horse-dealing,  rob- 
bing, smnggling,  and  so  forth.  He  wears  on  liis  liead  a  gay- 
coloured  silk  handkerchief,  tied  in  such  a  manner  that  the  tails 
hano-  down  behind  ;  over  tliis  remnant  of  the  Moorish  turban  he 
places  a  high-peaked  sugarloaf-shaped  hat  with  broad  brims  ;  his 
jaunty  jacket  is  made  either  of  black  sheepskin,  studded  with 
silver  ta"-s  and  filigree  buttons,  or  of  brown  clolh,  with  the 
back,  arms,  and  particularly  the  elbows,  welted  and  tricked  out 
with  flowers  and  vases,  cut  in  patches  of  different-coloured  cloth 
and  much  embroidered.  When  the  jacket  is  not  worn,  it  is 
usually  hung  over  the  left  shoulder,  after  tlie  hussar  fashion. 
The  waistcoat  is  made  of  rich  fancy  silk  ;  the  breeches  of  blue 
or  green  velvet  plusli,  ornamented  with  stripes  and  filigree  but- 
tons, and  tied  at  the  knee  with  silken  cords  and  tassels ;  the 
neck  is  left  open,  and  the  shirt  collar  turned  down,  and  a  gaudy 
neck-handkerchief  is  worn,  oftener  passed  througli  a  ring  tlian 
tied  in  a  knot ;  his  waist  is  girt  with  a  red  sash,  or  with  one  of 
a  bright  yellow.   This  "/f/ja,"*  a  sine  qua  non,  is  the  old  Roman 

*  Faja  ;  the  Hhezum  of  Cairo.  Atrides  tightens  his  sash  when  preparing 
for  action— Iliad  xi.  15.  The  Roman  soldiers  kept  their  money  in  it.  Ibit 
qui  zonam  perdidit.— Hor.  ii.  Ep.  2.  40.  The  Jews  used  it  for  the  same  pur- 
pose—Matthew  x.  9;  Mark-vi.  8.  It  is  loosened  at  night.  "INone  shall 
slumber  or  sleep,  neither  shall  the  girdle  of  then-  loins  be  loosed.  —Isaiah 
v.  27. 

CHAP.  VI.]  THE  ZAGAL.  63 

zona  ;  it  serves  also  for  a  purse,  "  girds  the  loins,"  and  keeps  up 
a  warmth  over  the  abdomen,  which  is  highly  beneficial  in  hot 
climates,  and  wards  off  any  tendency  to  irritable  colic  ;  in  the 
sash  is  stuck  the  '■^  navaja"  the  knife,  which  is  part  and  pai'cel 
of  a  Spaniard,  and  behind  the  '•''  zcujaV  usually  places  his  stick. 
The  richly  embroidered  gaiters  are  left  open  at  the  outside  to 
show  a  handsome  stocking  ;  the  shoes  are  yellow,  like  those  of 
our  cricketers,  and  are  generally  made  of  untanned  calfskin, 
which  being  the  colour  of  dust  require  no  cleaning.  Tlie  cale- 
seros  on  tlie  eastern  coast  wear  tlie  Valencian  stocking,  which 
has  no  feet  to  it — being  open  at  bottom,  it  is  likened  by  wags  to  a 
Spaniard's  purse  ;  instead  of  top  boots  they  wear  the  ancient 
Roman  sandals,  made  of  the  esparto  rush,  with  hempen  soles, 
which  are  called  "  alpargatas,^^  Arabice  AlpaJgah.  Tlie  '•  zaguV 
follows  the  fashion  in  dress  of  the  "  mayoral^*  as  nearly  as  his 
means  will  permit  hiin.  He  is  the  servant  of  all-work,  and  must 
be  ready  on  every  occasion  ;  nor  can  any  one  who  has  ever  seen 
the  hard  and  incessant  toil  which  these  men  undergo,  justly 
accuse  them  of  being  indolent — a  reproach  which  has  been  cast 
somewhat  indiscriminately  on  all  the  lower  classes  of  Spain  ;  he 
runs  by  the  side  of  the  carriage,  picks  up  stones  to  pelt  tlie  mules, 
ties  and  unties  knots,  and  pours  forth  a  volley  of  blows  and  oaths 
from  the  moment  of  starting  to  that  of  arrival.  He  sometimes 
is  indulged  witii  a  ride  by  the  side  of  the  mayoral  on  t!ie  bov, 
when  he  always  uses  the  tail  of  the  hind  mule  to  pull  himself  up 
into  his  seat.  The  harnessing  the  six  animals  is  a  difficult  opera- 
tion ;  first  the  tackle  of  ropes  is  laid  out  on  the  ground,  then  each 
beast  is  brought  into  his  portion  of  the  rigging.  Tiie  start  is 
always  an  important  ceremony,  and,  as  our  royal  mail  used  to  do 
in  the  country,  brings  out  all  the  idlers  in  the  vicinity.  When 
the  team  is  harnessed,^  the  mayoral  gets  all  his  skeins  of  ropes 
into  his  hand,  the  "  zagaV  his  sash  full  of  stones,  the  helpers  at 
the  venta  tiieir  sticks  ;  at  a  given  signal  all  fire  a  volley  of  oaths 
and  blows  at  the  team,  which,  once  in  mot"  m,  away  it  goes, 
pitching  over  ruts  deep  as  routine  prejudices,  with  its  pole  dip- 
ping and  rising  like  a  ship  in  a  rolling  sea,  and  continues  at  a 
brisk  pace,  performing  from  twenty-five  to  thirty  miles  a-day. 
The  hours  of  starting  are  early,  in  order  to  avoid  the  mid-day 
heat ;  in  these  matters  the  Spanish  customs  are  pretty  much  the 

64  DRIVING  IN  SPAIN.  [chap.  vi. 

same  with  the  Italian  ;  the  calesero  is  always  the  best  judge  of 
the  hours  of  departure  and  these  minor  details,  which  vary  ac- 
cording to  circumstances. 

Whenever  a  particularly  bad  bit  of  road  occurs,  notice  is  given 
to  the  team  by  calling  over  their  names,  and  by  crying  out 
" arre,  arre"  gee-up,  which  is  varied  with  '■'^Jirme,  Jirme" 
steady,  boy,  steady  !  The  names  of  the  animals  are  always 
fine-sounding  and  polysyllabic  ;  the  accent  is  laid  on  the  last 
syllable,  which  is  always  dwelt  on  and  lengthened  out  with  a 
particular  emphasis —  Cupitdna-d — BdndOlerd-d —  Geiieruld-d — 
Vdlerosd-d.  All  this  vocal  driving  is  performed  at  the  top  of 
the  voice,  and,  indeed,  next  to  scaring  away  crows  in  a  field, 
must  be  considered  the  best  possible  practice  for  the  lungs.  The 
team  often  exceeds  six  in  number,  and  never  is  less ;  the  propor- 
tion of  females  predominates:  there  is  generally  one  male  mule 
making  the  seventh,  who  is  called  "  el  macho"  the  male  par  excel- 
lence, like  the  Grand  Turk,  or  a  substantive  in  a  speech  in  Cortes, 
whicii  seldom  has  less  than  half  a  dozen  epithets:  he  invariably 
comes  in  for  the  largest  share  of  abuse  and  ill  usage,  wliich,  in- 
deed, he  deserves  the  most,  as  the  male  mule  is  infinitely  more 
stubborn  and  viciously  inclined  than  the  female.  Sometimes 
there  is  a  horse  of  the  Rosinante  breed  ;  he  is  called  "  el  cavallo" 
or  rather,  as  it  is  pronounced,  "  el  cdvdl  yb-d."  The  horse  is 
always  the  best  used  of  the  teai;i  ;  to  be  a  rider,  '■'■  cahallero" 
is  the  Spaniard's  synonym  for  gentleman ;  and  it  is  their  correct 
mode  of  addressing  each  other,  and  is  banded  gravely  among 
the  lower  orders,  who  never  have  crossed  any  quadruped  save  a 
mule  or  a  jackass. 

The  driving  a  coche  de  coUeras  is  quite  a  science  of  itself,  and 
is  observed  in  conducting  diligences;  it  amuses  the  Spanish 
"  majo"  or  fancy-man  as  much  as  coach-driving  does  the  fancy- 
man  of  England  ;  the  great  art  lies  not  in  handling  the  ribbons, 
but  in  the  proper  modulation  of  the  voice,  since  the  cattle  are 
always  addressed  individually  by  their  names  ;  the  first  syllables 
are  pronounced  very  rapidly  ;  the  "  macho"  the  male  mule,  who 
is  the  most  abused,  is  tlie  only  one  who  is  not  addressed  by  any 
names  beyond  that  of  his  sex :  the  word  is  repeated  with  a  volu- 
ble iteration  ;  in  order  to  make  the  two  syllables  longer,  they 
are   strung    together   thus,    macho — macho — macho — mdcho-o  : 

CHAP.  VI.1  SWEARING.  fi5 

they  begin  in  semiquavers,  flowing  on  crescendo  to  a  semibreve 
or  breve,  so  the  four  words  are  compounded  into  one  polysyllable. 
The  horse,  cahallo.  is  simply  called  so  ;  he  has  no  particular  name 
of  his  own,  which  the  female  mules  are  never  without,  and  wliich 
they  perfectly  know — indeed,  the  owners  will  say  that  they  under- 
stand them,  and  all  bad  language,  as  well  as  Christian  women, 
^' como  Cristianas ;"  and,  to  do  the  beasts  justice,  they  seem  more 
shocked  and  discomfited  thereby  than  the  bipeds  who  profess  the 
same  creed.  If  the  animal  called  to  does  not  answer  by  pricking 
up  her  ears,  or  by  quickening  her  pace,  the  threat  of"  Id  vara" 
the  stick,  is  added — the  last  argument  of  Spanish  drivers,  men  in 
office,  and  schoolmasters,  M'ith  whom  there  is  no  sort  of  reason 
equal  to  that  of  the  bastinado,  "  no  hay  tal  razon,  como  la  del 
haston.'^  It  operates  on  the  timorous  more  than  "  unadorned 
eloquence."  The  Moors  thought  so  highly  of  the  bastinado,  that 
they  held  the  stick  to  be  a  special  gift  from  Allah  to  the  faith- 
ful. It  holds  good,  a 'priori  and  a  posteriori,  to  mule  and  boy, 
"  al  hijo  y  mulo,  para  el  culo ;"  and  if  the  "  macho  "  be  in 
fault,  and  he  is  generally  punished  to  encourage  the  others,  some 
abuse  is  added  to  blows,  such  as  "  que  piirrbo,'^  "  what  a  dog  !" 
or  some  unhandsome  allusion  to  his  mother,  which  is  followed 
by  throwing  a  stone  at  the  leaders,  for  no  whip  could  reach 
them  from  the  coach-box.  Wlien  any  particular  mule's  name  is 
called,  if  her  companion  be  the  next  one  to  be  abused,  she  is 
seldom  addressed  by  her  name,  but  is  spoken  to  as  "  a  la  otrd-u" 
'"'■  aquella  otrd-d"  "Now  for  that  other  one,"  which  from  long 
association  is  expected  and  acknowledged.  The  team  obeys  the 
voice  and  is  in  admirable  command.  Few  things  are  more 
entertaining  than  driving  them,  especially  over  bad  roads ;  but 
it  requires  mucli  practice  in  Spanish  speaking  and  swearing. 

Among  the  many  commandments  that  are  always  broken  in 
Spain,  that  of  "  swear  not  at  all  "  is  not  the  least.  "  Our  army 
swore  lustily  in  Flanders,"  said  Uncle  Toby.  But  few  nations 
can  surpass  the  Spaniards  in  the  language  of  vituperation  :  it  is 
limited  only  by  the  extent  of  their  anatomical,  geograpliicah 
astronomical,  and  religious  knowledge  ;  it  is  so  plentifully  be- 
stowed on  their  animals — "  un  muletier  a  ce  jeu  vaut  trois  rois" 
— that  oaths  and  imprecations  seem  to  be  considered  as  the  only 
language  the  mute  creation  can  comprehend  ;  and  as  actions  are 


SPANISH  OATHS.  [chap.  vr. 

generally  suited  to  the  words,  the  combination  is  remarkably 
effective.  As  much  of  the  traveller's  time  on  the  road  must  be 
passed  among  beasts  and  muleteers,  who  are  not  unlike  them, 
some  knowledge  of  their  sayings  and  doings  is  of  great  use:  to 
be  able  to  talk  to  them  in  their  own  lingo,  to  take  an  interest  in 
them  and  in  their  animals,  never  fails  to  please  ;  "  Por  vida  del 
demonio,  mas  sabe  Usia  que  nosotros  "  "  by  the  life  of  the  devil, 
your  honour  knows  more  than  v/e,"  is  a  common  form  of  com- 
pliment. When  once  equality  is  established,  the  master  mind 
soon  becomes  the  real  master  of  the  rest.  The  great  oath  of 
Spain,  which  ought  never  to  be  written  or  pronounced,  prac- 
tically forms  the  foundation  of  the  language  of  the  lower  orders  ; 
it  is  a  most  ancient  remnant  of  the  phallic  abjuration  of  the 
evil  eye,  the  dreaded  fascination  wliich  still  perplexes  the  minds 
of  Orientals,  and  is  not  banished  from  Spanish  and  Neapolitan 
superstitions.*  The  word  terminates  in  ajo,  on  which  great 
stress  is  laid  :  the  j  is  pronounced  witii  a  most  Arabic,  guttural 
aspiration.  The  word  ajo  means  also  garlic,  which  is  quite  as 
often  in  Spanish  mouths,  and  is  exactly  what  Hotspur  liked,  a 
"  mouth-filling  oath,"  energetic  and  Michael  Angelesque.  The 
pun  has  been  extended  to  oiuons  t  thus.  <■' ajos  y  cchoUas"  means 
oaths  and  imprecations.  The  sting  of  the  v,ath  is  in  the  "  ajo" 
all  women  and  quiet  men,  who  do  not  wish  to  be  particularly 
objurgatory,  but  merely  to  enforce  and  give  a  little  additional 
vigour,  un  soup5on  d'ail,  or  a  shotting  to  their  discourse,  drop 
the  offensive  "  «/o,"and  say  "  car"  "  caral,"  ''  caramba."  The 
Spanish  oath  is  used  as  a  verb,  as  a  substantive,  as  an  adjective, 
just  as  it  suits  the  grammar  or  the  v,'rath  of  the  utterer.     It  is 

*  The  dread  of  the  fascination  of  the  evil  eye,  from  which  Solomon  was 
not  exempt  (Proverbs  xxiii.  (i),  prevails  all  over  the  East;  it  has  not  been 
extirpated  from  Spain  or  from  Naples,  which  so  long  belonged  to  Spain. 
The  lower  classes  in  the  Peninsula  hang  round  the  necks  of  their  children 
and  cattle  a  horn  tipped  with  silver;  this  is  sold  as  an  amulet  in  the  silver- 
smiths'shops ;  tlie  cord  by  which  it  is  attached  ought  to  be  braided  from 
a  black  mare's  tail.  The  Spanish  gipsies,  of  wliom  Borrow  has  given  us  so 
complete  an  account,  thrive  by  disarming  the  mol  dc  ojo,  '■'qiterelar  nasulu,"^ 
as  tliey  term  it.  The  dread  of  the  "  Ain  ara  "  exists  among  all  classes  of 
the  Moors.  The  better  classes  of  Spaniards  make  a  jol;e_of  it;  and  often, 
when  you  remark  that  a  person  has  put  on  or  wears  something  strange  about 
iiim,  the  answer  is,  "  Es  para  que  no  me  luujan  mal  de  ojv."  Naples  is  the 
head-quarters  for  charms  and  coral  amulets  :  all  the  learning  has  been  col- 
lected by  the  Canon  Jorio  and  the  Marques  Arditi. 


equivalent  also  to  a  certain  place  and  the  person  who  lives  there. 
'•  Vaya  Usted  al  C — ajo "  is  the  worst  form  of  the  angry 
"  Vaya  Usted  al  demonio"  or  "  a  los  injiernos"  and  is  a  whim- 
sical mixture  of  courtesy  and  transportation.  "  Your  Grace 
may  go  to  the  devil,  or  to  the  infernal  regions  !  " 

Thus  these  imprecatory  vegetables  retain  in  Spain  their  old 
Egyptian  flavour  and  mystical  charm  ;  as  on  the  Nile,  according 
to  Pliny,  onions  and  garlic  were  worshipped  as  adjuratory  divini- 
ties. The  Spaniards  have  also  added  most  of  the  gloomy  northern 
Gothic  oaths,  which  are  imprecatory,  to  the  Oriental,  which  are 
grossly  sensual.  Enough  of  this.  The  traveller  who  lias  nmch 
to  do  with  Spanish  mules  and  asses,  biped  or  quadruped,  will  need 
no  hand-book  to  teach  him  the  sixty-five  or  more  ^^  serments 
espaigiiols "  on  which  Mons.  de  Brantome  wrote  a  treatise. 
More  becoming  will  it  be  to  the  English  gentleman  to  swear  not 
at  all ;  a  reasonable  indulgence  in  Caramha  is  all  that  can  be 
permitted;  the  custom  is  more  honoured  in  the  breach' than  in 
the  observance,  and  bad  luck  seldom  deserts  the  house  of  the 
imprecator.     "  En  la  casa  del  que  jura,  no  falta  desave?itura" 

Previously  to  hiring  one  of  these  "  coaches  of  collars,"  which 
is  rather  an  expensive  amusement,  every  possible  precaution 
should  be  taken  in  clearly  and  minutely  specifying  everything  to 
be  done,  and  the  price ;  tlie  Spanish  "  caleseros "  rival  their 
Italian  colleagues  in  that  untruth,  roguery,  and  dishonesty,  which 
seem  everywhere  to  combine  readily  with  jockeyship,  and  distin- 
guishes those  who  handle  the  whip,  "  do  jobbings,"  and  conduct 
mortals  by  horses  ;  the  fee  to  be  given  to  the  drivers  should  never 
be  included  in  the  bargain,  as  the  keeping  this  important  item 
open  and  dependent  on  the  good  beliaviour  of  tiie  future  reci- 
pients offers  a  sure  check  over  master  and  man,  and  other  road- 
classes.  In  justice,  however,  to  this  class  of  Spaniards,  it  may  be 
said  that  on  the  whole  they  are  civil,  good-humoured,  and  hard- 
working, and,  from  not  having  been  accustomed  to  either  the 
screw  bargaining  or  alternate  extravagance  of  the  English  travel- 
lers in  Italy,  are  as  tolerably  fair  in  their  transactions  as  can  be 
expected  from  human  nature  brought  in  constant  contact  with 
four-legged  and  four-wheeled  tem[){ations.  Tiiey  offer  to  the 
artist  an  endless  subject  of  the  picturesque  ;  everytiiing  con- 
nected with  them  is  full  of  form,  colour,  and  originalify.     They 


CS  HINTS  FOR  HIRING.  [chap.  vi. 

can  do  nothing,  whether  sitting,  driving,  sleeping,  or  eating, 
that  does  not  make  a  picture  ;  the  same  may  be  said  of  their 
animals  and  their  habits  and  harness  *,  those  who  draw  will  never 
find  the  midday  halt  long  enough  for  the  infinite  variety  of  sub- 
ject and  scenery  to  which  their  travelling  equipage  and  attendants 
form  the  most  peculiar  and  appropriate  foreground  :  while  our 
modern  poetasters  will  consider  them  quite  as  worthy  of  being 
sung  in  immortal  verse  as  the  Cambridge  carrier  Hobson,  who 
was  Milton's  choice. 



Spanish  Horses — Mules — Asses — Muleteers — l\Iaragatos. 

We  now  proceed  to  Spanish  quadrupeds,  liaving  placed  tlie 
wheel-carriages  before  the  horses.  That  of  Andalucia  takes  pre- 
cedence of  all  ;  he  fetches  the  highest  price,  and  the  Spaniards 
in  general  value  no  other  breed ;  they  consider  his  configuration 
and  qualities  as  perfect,- and  in  some  respects  they  are  right,  for 
no  horse  is  more  elegant  or  more  easy  in  his  motions,  none  are 
more  gentle  or  docile,  none  are  more  quick  in  acquiring  showy 
accomplishments,  or  in  performing  feats  of  Astleyan  agility;  he 
has  very  little  in  common  with  the  English  blood-horse  ;  his  mane 
is  soft  and  silky,  and  is  frequently  plaited  with  gay  ribbons ;  his 
tail  is  of  great  length,  and  left  in  all  the  proportions  of  nature, 
not  cropped  and  docked,  by  which  Voltaire  was  so  nmch 
offended  : — 

"  Fiers  et  bizarres  Anglais,  qui  des  memes  ciseaux 
Coupez  la  tete  aux  rois,  et  la  queue  aux  clievaux." 

It  often  trails  to  the  very  ground,  while  the  animal  lias  perfect 
command  over  it,  lashing  it  on  everj^  side  as  a  gentleman  switches 
his  cane  ;  therefore,  when  on  a  journey,  it  is  usual  to  double 
and  tie  it  up,  after  the  fashion  of  the  ancient  pig-tails  of  our  sailors. 
The  Andalucian  horse  is  round  in  his  quarters,  though  inclined 
to  be  small  in  the  barrel ;  he  is  broad-chested,  and  always  carries 
his  head  high,  especially  when  going  a  good  pace  ;  his  length 
of  leg  adds  to  his  height,  which  sometimes  reaches  to  sixteen 
hands  ;  he  never,  however,  stretches  out  with  the  long  graceful 
sweep  of  the  English  thorough-bred  ;  his  action  is  apt  to  be  loose 
and  shambling,  and  he  is  given  to  dishing  with  the  feet.  The 
pace  is,  notwithstanding,  perfectly  delightful.  From  being 
very  long  in  the  pastern,  the  motion  is  broken  as  it  were  by  the 
springs  of  a  carriage;  their  pace  is   the  peculiar  '■'■  ■paso   Cas- 

70  OTHER  SPANISH  HORSES.  [chap,  vii, 

iellano,^^  which  is  something  more  than  a  walk,  and  less  than  a 
trot,  and  it  is  truly  sedate  and  sedan-chair-like,  and  suits  a  grave 
Don,  who  is  given,  like  a  Turk,  to  tobacco  and  contemplation. 
Those  Andalucian  horses  which  fall  when  young  into  the  hands 
of  the  officers  at  Gibraltar  acquire  a  very  different  action,  and 
lay  themselves  better  down  to  their  work,  and  gain  much  more 
in  speed  from  the  English  system  of  training  than  they  would 
have  done  had  they  been  managed  by  Spaniards.  Taught  or  un- 
taught, this  pace  is  most  gentlemanlike,  and  well  did  Beaumont 
and  Fletcher 

"  Think  it  noble,  as  Spaniards  do  in  riding, 
lu  managhig  a  great  horse,  which  is  princely ;" 

and  as  has  been  said,  is  the  only  attitude  in  wliich  the  kings  of 
the  Spains,  true  (piXnnroi,  ought  ever  to  be  painted,  witching  the 
world  with  noble  horsemanship. 

Many  other  provinces  possess  breeds  which  are  more  useful, 
though  far  less  showy,  than  the  Andalucian.  The  horse  of 
Castile  is  a  strong,  hardy  animal,  and  the  best  which  Spain  pro- 
duces for  mounting  heavy  cavalry.  The  ponies  of  Gallicia, 
although  ugly  and  uncouth,  are  admirably  suited  to  the  wild 
hilly  country  and  laborious  population  ;  they  require  very  little 
care  or  grooming,  and  are  satisfied  with  coarse  food  and  Indian 
corn.  Tiie  horses  of  Navarre,  once  so  celebrated,  are  still 
esteemed  for  their  hardy  strength ;  they  have,  from  neglect,  de- 
generated into  ponies,  which,  however,  are  beautiful  in  form, 
hardy,  docile,  sure-footed,  and  excellent  trotters.  In  most  of  the 
large  towns  of  Spain  there  is  a  sort  of  market,  where  horses  are 
publicly  sold ;  but  Honda  fair,  in  May,  is  the  great  Ilouden  and 
Horncastle  of  the  four  provinces  of  Seville,  Cordova,  Jaen,  and 
Granada,  and  the  resort  of  all  the  picturesque-looking  rogues  of 
the  south.  The  reader  of  Don  Quixote  need  not  be  told  that  the 
race  of  Gines  Passamonte  is  not  extinct ;  the  Spanish  Chalanes, 
or  horse-dealers,  have  considerable  talents ;  but  the  cleverest  is 
but  a  mere  child  when  compared  to  the  perfection  of  rascality  to 
which  a  real  English  professor  has  attained  in  the  mysteries  of 
lying,  chaunting,  and  making  up  a  horse. 

The  breeding  of  horses  was  carefully  attended  to  by  the  Spanish 
government  previously  to  the  invasion  of  the  French,  by  whom 

CHAP.  VII.]  MULES.  71 

the  entire  horses  and  brood-mares  were  either  killed  or  stolen, 
and  the  buildings  and  stables  burnt. 

The  saddles  used  commonly-in  Spain  are  Moorish  ;  they  are 
made  with  high  peak  and  croup  behind  ;  the  stirrup-irons  are 
large  triangularly-shaped  boxes.  The  food  is  equally  Oriental, 
and  consists  of  "  barley  and  straw,"  as  mentioned  in  the  Bible. 
We  well  remember  the  horror  of  our  Andalucian  groom,  on  our 
first  reaching  Gallicia,  when  he  rushed  in,  exclaiming  that  the 
beasts  would  perish,  as  nothing  was  to  be  had  there  but  oats  and 
hay.  After  some  difficulty  he  was  persuaded  to  see  if  they  would 
eat  it,  whicli  to  his  surprise  they  actually  did  ;  such,  however,  is 
habit,  that  they  soon  fell  out  of  condition,  and  did  not  recover  until 
the  damp  mountains  were  quitted  for  the  arid  plains  of  Castile. 

Spaniards  in  general  prefer  mules  and  asses  to  the  horse,  which 
is  more  delicate,  requires  greater  attention,  and  is  less  sure-footed 
over  broken  and  precipitous  ground.  The  mule  performs  in 
Spain  the  functions  of  the  camel  in  the  East,  and  has  son^etliing 
in  his  morale  (besides  liis  physical  suitableness  to  the  country) 
which  is  congenial  to  the  character  of  his  masters ;  he  lias  the 
same  self-willed  obstinacy,  the  same  resignation  mider  burdens, 
the  same  singular  capability  of  endurance  of  labour,  fatigue,  and 
privation.  The  mule  has  always  been  much  used  in  Spain,  and 
the  demand  for  them  very  great ;  yet,  from  some  mistaken 
crotchet  of  Spanish  political  economy  (whicli  is  very  Spanish), 
the  breeding  of  the  mule  has  long  been  attempted  to  be  pre- 
vented, in  order  to  encourage  that  of  the  horse.  One  of  the 
reasons  alleged  was,  that  the  mule  was  a  non-reproductive 
animal  ;  an  argument  which  might  or  ought  to  apply  equally  to 
the  monk  ;  a  breed  for  which  Spain  could  have  shown  for  the 
first  prize,  both  as  to  number  anil  size,  against  any  other  country 
in  all  Christendom.  This  attempt  to  force  the  production  of  an 
annual  far  less  suited  to  the  wants  and  habits  of  the  people  has 
failed,  as  might  be  expected.  The  difficulties  thrown  in  the 
way  have  only  tended  to  raise  tlie  prices  of  mules,  whicli  are, 
and  always  were,  very  dear ;  a  good  mule  will  fetch  from  25/.  to 
50/.,  while  a  horse  of  relative  goodness  may  be  purchased  for 
from  20/.  to  40/.  IMules  were  always  very  dear ;  thus  Martial, 
like  a  true  Andalucian   Spaniard,  talks  of  one  which  cost  more 

I  -  ASSES.  [chap.  VII. 

than  a  house.  The  most  esteemed  are  those  bred  from  the  mare 
and  the  ass,  or  '' garcuioii"  *  some  of  wliich  are  of  extraordinary 
size  ;  and  one  wiiieli  Don  Carlos  had  in  liis  stud-house  at  Aranjuez 
in  1832  exceeded  fifteen  Iiands  in  height.  This  colossal  ass  and 
a  Spanish  infante  were  wortiiy  of  each  otlier. 

The  mules  in  Spain,  as  in  tlie  East,  have  their  coats  closely 
shorn  or  clipped  ;  part  of  the  hair  is  usually  left  on  in  stripes  like 
the  zebra,  or  cut  into  fanciful  patterns,  like  the  tattooings  of  a 
Xew  Zealand  chief  This  process  of  sliearing  is  found  to  keep  the 
beast  cooler  and  freer  from  cutaneous  disorders.  The  operation 
is  performed  in  the  southern  provinces  by  gipsies,  who  are  the 
same  tinkers,  horse-dealers,  and  vagrants  in  Spain  as  elsewhere. 
Their  clipping  recalls  the  "  mulo  curto,"  on  which  Horace  could 
amble  even  to  Brundusium.  The  operators  rival  in  talent 
those  worthy  Frenchmen  who  cut  the  hair  of  poodles  on  the 
Pont  Neuf,  in  the  heart  and  brain  of  European  civilization. 
Their  Spanish  colleagues  may  be  known  by  the  shears,  formid- 
able and  classical- shaped  as  those  of  Laehesis  and  her  sisters, 
which  they  carry  in  their  sashes.  They  are  very  particular  in 
clipping  the  heels  and  pasterns,  which  they  say  ouglit  to  be  as 
free  from  superfluous  hair  as  the  palm  of  a  lady's  hand. 

Spanish  asses  have  been  innnortalised  by  Cervantes ;  they  are 
endeared  to  us  by  Sancho's  love  and  talent  of  imitation  ;  he 
brayed  so  well,  be  it  remembered,  that  all  the  long-eared  chorus 
joined  a  performer  who,  in  his  own  modest  phrase,  only 
wanted  a  tail  to  be  a  perfect  donkey.  Spanish  mayors,  accord- 
ing to  Don  Quixote,  have  a  natural  talent  for  this  braying;  but, 
save  and  except  in  the  west  of  England,  their  right  worsliipfuls 
may  be  matched  elsewhere. 

The  humble  ass,  "  burro,''  '^'horrico,"  is  the  rule,  the  as  in 
praesenti,  and  part  and  parcel  of  every  Spanish  scene :  he  forms 
the  appropriate  foreground  in  streets  or  roads.  Wherever  two  or 
three  Spaniards  are  collected  together  in  market,  jWito,  or  "con- 
gregation," there  is  quite  sure  to  be  an  ass  among  them  ;  he  is 

*  ThQgaranon  is  also  called  '-hn  no  padre"  ass  father,  not  "  padre  burro." 
"  Padre,"  the  prefix  of  paternity,  is  the  common  title  given  in  Spain  to  the 
clergy  and  the  monks.  "  Father  jackass"  might  in  many  instances,  wlien 
applied  to  the  latter,  be  too  morally  and  physically  appropriate,  to  be  con- 
sistent with  the  respect  due  to  the  celibate  cowl  and  cassock. 


the  hard  worked  companion  of  the  lower  orders,  to  whom  to  work 
is  the  greatest  misfortune ;  sufferance  is  indeed  the  common  virtue 
of  both  tribes.  They  may,  perhaps,  both  wince  a  little  when  a 
new  burden  or  a  new  tax  is  laid  on  them  by  Senor  Mon,  but  they 
soon,  when  they  see  that  there  is  no  remedy,  bear  on  and  endure  : 
from  this  fellow-feeling,  master  and  animal  cherish  each  other  at 
heart,  though,  from  the  blows  and  imprecations  bestowed  openly, 
the  former  may  be  thought  by  hasty  observers  to  be  ashamed  of 
confessing  these  predilections  in  public.  Some  under-current, 
no  doubt,  remains  of  the  ancient  prejudices  of  chivalry  ;  but 
Cervantes,  who  thoroughly  understood  human  nature  in  general, 
and  Spanish  nature  in  particular,  has  most  justly  dwelt  on  the 
dear  love  which  Sancho  Panza  felt  for  his  "  Rucio"  and  marked 
the  reciprocity  of  the  brute,  affectionate  as  intelligent.  In  fact, 
in  the  Sagra  district,  near  Toledo,  he  is  called  Elvecino,  one  of 
the  householders ;  and  none  can  look  a  Spanish  ass  in  the  face 
without  remarking  a  peculiar  expression,  which  indicates  that  the 
hairy  fool  considers  himself,  like  the  pig  in  a  cabin  of  the  "  first 
gem  of  the  sea,"  to  be  one  of  tlie  family,  de  la  familla,  or  de 
nosotros.  La  Mancha  is  the  paradise  of  mules  and  asses  ;  many 
a  Sancho  at  this  moment  is  there  fondlinar  andembracino;-  his  ass, 
his  "  chato  chatito,'"  "  romo"  or  other  complimentary  variations 
of  Snid),  with  which,  when  not  abusing  him,  he  delights  to  nick- 
name his  helpmate.  In  Spain,  as  Sappho  says,  Love  is  y\vK.v- 
TTiKpoy,  an  alternation  of  the  agro-dolce  ;  nor  is  there  any  Preven- 
tion of  Cruelty  Society  towards  animals ;  every  Spaniard  has  the 
same  right  in  law  and  equity  to  kick  and  beat  his  own  ass  to  his 
own  liking,  as  a  philanthropical  Yankee  has  to  wallop  his  own 
niggar  ;  no  one  ever  thinks  of  interposing  on  these  occasions,  any 
more  than  they  would  in  a  quarrel  between  a  man  and  liis  wife. 
The  words  are,  at  all  events,  on  one  side.  It  is,  however,  re- 
corded in  jnam  memoriam,  of  certain  Roman  Catholic  asses  of 
Spain,  that  they  tried  to  throw  off  one  Tomas  Trebifio  and  some 
other  heretics,  when  on  the  way  to  be  burnt,  being  horror-struck 
at  bearing  such  monsters.  Every  Spanish  peasant  is  heart- 
broken when  injury  is  done  to  liis  ass,  as  well  he  may  be,  for  it 
is  the  means  by  which  he  lives  ;  nor  has  he  much  chance,  if  he 
loses  him,  of  finding  a  crown  when  hunting  for  him,  as  was  once 

74  THE  JMULETEER.  [chap.  vii. 

done,  or  even  a  government  like  Sancho.  Sterne  would  have 
done  better  to  have  laid  the  venue  of  his  sentimentalities  over  a 
dead  ass  in  Spain,  rather  than  in  France,  where  the  quadruped 
species  is  much  rarer.  In  Spain,  where  small  carts  and  wheel- 
barrows are  almost  unknown,  and  the  drawing  them  is  con- 
sidered as  beneath  the  dignity  of  the  Spanisli  man,  the  substitute, 
an  ass,  is  in  constant  employ ;  sometimes  it  is  laden  with  sacks 
of  corn,  with  wine-skins,  with  water-jars,  with  dung,  or  with 
dead  robbers,  sliuig  like  sacks  over  the  back,  their  arms  and  legs 
tied  under  the  animal's  belly.  Asses'  milk,  "■  lec/te  de  hurra" 
is  in  much  request  during  the  spring  season.  The  brown  sex 
drink  it  in  order  to  fine  their  complexions  and  cool  their  blood, 
'■'■  refrescar  la  sangre ;'  the  clergy  and  men  in  oflfice,  " /o* 
empleados"  to  whom  it  is  mother's  milk,  swallow  it  in  order 
that  it  may  give  tone  to  their  gastric  juices.  Riding  on  assback 
was  accounted  a  disgrace  and  a  degradation  to  the  Gothic 
hidalgo,  and  the  Spaniards,  in  the  sixteenth  century,  mounted 
unrepining  cuckolds,  "  los  cormcdos pacientes,"  on  asses.  Now 
a-days,  in  spite  of  all  these  unpleasant  associations,  the  grandee-, 
and  their  wives,  and  even  grave  ambassadors  from  foreign  parts, 
during  the  royal  residence  at  Aranjnez,  much  delight  in  ele- 
vating themselves  on  this  beast  of  ill  omen,  and  '■'  horricadas" 
or  donkey  parties  are  all  the  fashion. 

The  muleteer  of  Spain  is  justly  renowned ;  his  generic  term 
is  arriero,  a  gee-uper,  for  his  arre  arre  is  pure  Arabic,  as  indeed 
are  almost  all  the  terms  connected  with  his  craft,  as  the  Moriscoes 
were  long  the  great  carriers  of  Spain.  To  travel  with  the 
muleteer,  when  the  party  is  small  or  a  person  is  alone,  is  both 
cheap  and  safe  ;  indeed,  many  of  the  most  picturesque  portions 
of  Spain,  Eonda  and  Granada  for  instance,  can  scarcely  be 
reached  except  by  walking  or  riding.  These  men,  who  are  con- 
stantly on  the  road,  and  going  backwards  and  forwards,  are  the 
best  persons  to  consiilt  for  details  ;  their  animals  are  generally  to 
be  hired,  but  a  muleteer's  stud  is  not  pleasant  to  ride,  since  their 
beasts  always  travel  in  single  files.  The  leading  animal  is  furnished 
with  a  copper  bell  with  a  wooden  clapper,  to  give  notice  of  their 
marcli,  which  is  shaped  like  an  ice-mould,  sometimes  two  feet 
long,  and  hangs  from  the  neck,  being  contrived,  as  it  were,  on 


purpose  to  knock  the  animal's  knees  as  much  as  possible,  and  to 
emit  the  greatest  quantity  of  the  most  melancholy  sounds,  which, 
according  to  the  pious  origin  of  all  bells,  were  meant  to 
scare  away  the  Evil  One.  The  bearer  of  all  this  tiiitinnabular 
clatter  is  chosen  from  its  superior  docility  and  knack  in  picking 
out  a  way.  The  others  follow  their  leader,  and  the  noise  he 
makes  when  they  cannot  see  him.  They  are  heavily  but  scien- 
tifically laden.  The  cargo  of  each  is  divided  into  three  portions  ; 
one  is  tied  on  each  side,  and  the  other  placed  between.  If  the 
cargo  be  not  nicely  balanced,  the  muleteer  either  unloads  or  adds 
a  few  stones  to  the  lighter  portion — the  additional  weight  being 
compensated  by  the  greater  comfort  with  which  a  well-poised 
burden  is  carried.  These  "sumpter"  mules  are  gaily  decorated 
with  trappings  full  of  colour  and  tags.  The  head-gear  is  com- 
posed of  different  coloured  worsteds,  to  which  a  multitude  of 
small  bells  are  affixed  ;  hence  the  saying,  "  mucjer  de  mucha 
campanula"  a  woman  of  many  bells,  of  much  show,  much  noise, 
or  pretension.  The  muleteer  either  walks  by  the  side  of  his 
animal  or  sits  aloft  on  the  cargo,  with  his  feet  dangling  on  the 
neck,  a  seat  which  is  by  no  means  so  uncomfortable  as  it  would 
appear.  A  rude  gun,  "  but  'twill  serve,"  and  is  loaded  Avith 
slugs,  hangs  always  in  readiness  by  his  side,  and  often  with  it  a 
guitar ;  these  emblems  of  life  and  death  paint  the  unchanged 
reckless  condition  of  Iberia,  where  extremes  have  ever  met, 
where  a  man  still  goes  out  of  the  world  like  a  swan,  with  a  song. 
Thus  accoutred,  as  Byron  says,  with  "  all  that  gave,  promise  of 
pleasure  or  a  grave,"  the  approach  of  the  caravan  is  announced 
from  afar  by  his  cracked  or  guttural  voice  :  "  How  carols  now 
the  lusty  muleteer  !"  For  when  not  engaged  in  swearing  or 
smoking,  the  livelong  day  is  passed  in  one  monotonous  high- 
pitched  song,  the  tune  of  whicli  is  little  in  harmony  with  the  im- 
port of  the  words,  or  his  cheerful  humour,  being  most  unmusical 
and  melancholy  ;  but  such  is  the  true  type  of  Oriental  melody, 
as  it  is  called.  Tlie  same  absence  of  thought  which  is  shown  in 
England  by  whistling  is  displayed  in  Spain  by  singing.  "  Quien 
canfa  sus  males  espa?ita:"  he  who  sings  frightens  away  ills, 
a  philosophic  consolation  in  travel  as  old  and  as  classical  as 
Virgil : — "  Cantantcs   licet    usque,    minus    via    taedet,    eamus," 

MARAGATOS.  [chap.  vii. 

which  may  be  thus  translated  for  tlie  benefit  of  country  gentle- 
men : — 

If  we  join  in  doleful  chorus, 

The  dull  highway  will  much  less  bore  us. 

The  Spanish  muleteer  is  a  fine  fellow  ;  he  is  intelligent,  active, 
and  enduring;  he  braves  hunger  and  thirst,  heat  and  cold,  mud 
and  dust ;  he  works  as  hard  as  his  cattle,  never  robs  or  is  robbed  ; 
and  while  his  betters  in  this  land  put  off  everything  till  to-morrow 
except  bankruptcy,  he  is  punctual  and  honest,  his  frame  is  wiry 
and  sinewy,  his  costume  peculiar  ;  many  are  the  leagues  and 
long,  which  we  have  ridden  in  his  caravan,  and  longer  his  robber 
yarns,  to  which  we  paid  no  attention  ;  and  it  must  be  admitted 
that  these  cavalcades  are  truly  national  and  picturesque.  Mingled 
with  droves  of  mules  and  mounted  horsemen,  the  zig-zag  lines  come 
threading  down  the  mountain  defiles,  now  tracking  through  tlie 
aromatic  brushwood,  now  concealed  amid  rocks  and  olive-trees, 
now  emerging  bright  and  glittering  into  the  sunshine,  giving  life 
and  movement  to  the  lonely  nature,  and  breaking  the  usual  still- 
ness by  the  tinkle  of  the  bell  and  the  sad  ditty  of  the  muleteer 
— sounds  which,  though  unmusical  in  themselves,  are  in  keeping 
with  the  scene,  and  associated  with  wild  Spanish  rambles,  just  as 
the  harsh  whetting  of  tlie  scythe  is  mixed  up  with  the  sweet  spring 
and  newh'-mown  hay-meadow. 

There  is  one  class  of  muleteers  which  are  but  little  known  to 
European  travellers — the  Marayatos,  whose  head-quarters  are  at 
San  Roma7i,  near  Astorga  ;  they,  like  the  .Jew  and  gipsy,  live  ex- 
clusively among  their  own  people,  preserving  their  primeval  cos- 
tume and  customs,  and  never  marrying  out  of  their  own  tribe.  They 
are  as  perfectly  nomad  and  wandering  as  the  Bedouins,  the  mule 
only  being  substituted  for  the  camel ;  their  honesty  and  industry 
are  proverbial.  They  are  a  sedate,  grave,  dry,  matter-of-fact, 
business-like  people.  Their  charges  are  high,  but  the  security 
counterbalances,  as  they  may  be  trusted  with  untold  gold.  They 
are  the  cliannels  of  all  traffic  between  Gallicia  and  the  Castiles, 
being  seldom  seen  in  the  south  or  east  provinces.  They  are 
dressed  in  leathern  jerkins,  whicli  fit  tightly  like  a  cuirass,  leaving 
the  arms  free.  Tlieir  linen  is  coarse  but  white,  especially  the 
shirt  collar ;  a  broad  leather  belt,  in  which  there  is  a  purse,  is 

CHAP.  VII.]  COSTUjNIE  of  the  MARAGATOS.  77 

fastened  round  the  waist.  Their  breeches,  like  those  of  the  Valen- 
cians,  are  called  Zaraguelles,  a  pure  Arabic  word  for  kilts  or  wide 
drawers,  and  no  burgomaster  of  Rembrandt  is  more  broad- 
bottomed.  Their  legs  are  encased  in  long  brown  clotli  gaiters, 
with  red  garters  ;  their  hair  is  generally  cut  close — sometimes, 
however,  strange  tufts  are  left.  A  huge,  slouching,  flapping  hat 
completes  the  most  inconvenient  of  travelling  dresses,  and  it  is 
too  Dutch  to  be  even  picturesque  ;  but  these  fashions  are  as 
vmchanoeable  as  the  laws  of  the  Medes  and  Persians  were  ;  nor 
will  any  Maragato  dream  of  altering  his  costume  until  those 
dressed  models  of  painted  wood  do  Avhich  strike  the  hours  of  the 
clock  on  the  square  of  Astoi-ga :  Pedro  3Iato,  also,  another 
figure  costumee,  who  holds  a  weathercock  at  the  cathedral,  is  the 
observed  of  all  observers ;  and,  in  truth,  this  particular  costume 
is,  as  that  of  Quakers  used  to  be,  a  guarantee  of  their  tribe  and 
respectability  ;  tlius  even  Cordero,  the  rich  Maragato  deputy, 
appeared  in  Cortes  in  this  local  costume. 

The  dress  of  the  Maragata  is  equally  peculiar :  she  wears,  if 
married,  a  sort  of  head-gear.  El  Caramiello,  in  the  shape  of  a 
crescent,  the  round  part  coming  over  the  forehead,  which  is  very 
Moorish,  and  resembles  those  of  the  females  in  the  basso-rilievos 
at  Granada.  Their  hair  flows  loosely  on  their  shoulders,  while 
their  apron  or  petticoat  hangs  down  open  before  and  behind,  and 
is  curiously  tied  at  the  back  with  a  sash,  and  their  bodice  is 
cut  square  over  the  bosom.  At  their  festivals  they  are  covered 
with  ornaments  of  long  cliains  of  coral  and  metal,  with  crosses, 
relics,  and  medals  in  silver.  Their  earrings  are  very  heavy,  and 
supported  by  silken  threads,  as  among  the  Jewesses  in  Barbary. 
A  marriage  is  the  grand  feast ;  then  large  parties  assemble,  and 
a  president  is  chosen,  who  puts  into  a  waiter  whatever  sum  of 
money  he  likes,  and  all  invited  must  then  give  as  much.  The 
bride  is  enveloped  in  a  mantle,  whicli  she  wears  the  whole  day, 
and  never*  again  except  on  that  of  her  husband's  death.  She 
does  not  dance  at  the  wedding-ball.  Early  next  morning  two 
roast  chickens  are  brought  to  the  bed-side  of  the  happy  pair. 
The  next  evening  ball  is  opened  by  the  bride  and  her  husband, 
to  the  tune  of  the  gaita,  or  Moorish  bagpipe.  Their  dances  are 
grave  and  serious  ;  such  indeed  is  their  whole  character.     The 

78  THEIR  ORIGIN.  [chap.  vn. 

Maragatos,  with  their  honest,  weatlier-beaten  countenances,  are 
seen  with  files  of  mules  all  along  the  high  road  to  La  Coruiia. 
They  generally  walk,  and,  like  other  Spanish  arrieros,  although 
they  sing  and  curse  rather  less,  are  employed  in  one  ceaseless 
shower  of  stones  and  blows  at  their  mules. 

Tlie  whole  tribe  assembles  twice  a  year  at  Astorga,  at  the  feasts 
of  Corpus  and  the  Ascension,  when  tliey  dance  El  Canizo,  be- 
ginning at  two  o'clock  in  the  afternoon,  and  ending  precisely  at 
three.  If  any  one  not  a  Maragato  joins,  they  all  leave  off 
immediately.  The  women  never  wander  from  their  homes, 
which  their  undomestic  husbands  always  do.  They  lead  the 
hardworked  life  of  the  Iberian  females  of  old,  and  now,  as  then, 
are  to  be  seen  everywhere  in  these  west  provinces  toiling  in  the 
fields,  early  before  the  sun  has  risen,  and  late  after  it  has  set; 
and  it  is  most  painful  to  behold  them  drudging  at  these  unfemi- 
nine  vocations. 

The  origin  of  the  Maragatos  has  never  been  ascertained. 
Some  consider  them  to  be  a  remnant  of  the  Celtiberian,  others 
of  tlie  Visigoths  ;  most,  however,  prefer  a  Bedouin,  or  caravan 
descent.  It  is  in  vain  to  question  these  ignorant  carriers  as  to 
their  history  or  origin  ;  for  like  the  gipsies,  tliey  have  no  traditions, 
and  know  nothing.  An-ieros,  at  all  events,  they  are ;  and  that 
word,  in  common  with  so  many  others  relating  to  the  barb  and 
carrier-caravan  craft,  is  Arabic,  and  proves  whence  the  system 
and  science  were  derived  by  Spaniards. 

The  3Iaragatos  are  celebrated  for  their  fine  beasts  of  burden  ; 
indeed,  the  mules  of  Leon  are  renowned,  and  the  asses  splendid 
and  numerous,  especially  the  nearer  one  approaches  to  the  learned 
university  of  Salamanca.  The  Maragatos  take  precedence  on 
the  road  ;  they  are  the  lords  of  the  highway,  being  the  channels 
of  commerce  in  a  land  where  mules  and  asses  represent 
luggage  rail  trains.  They  know  and  feel  their  importance, 
and  that  they  are  tlie  rule,  and  the  traveller  for  mere  plea- 
sure is  the  exception.  Few  Spanish  muleteers  are  much  more 
polished  than  their  beasts,  and  however  picturesque  the  scene, 
it  is  no  joke  meeting  a  string  of  laden  beasts  in  a  narrow 
road,  especially  with  a  precipice  on  one  side,  cosa  dc  EspaTia. 
The  Maragatos  seldom  give  way,  and  their  mules  keep  doggedly 


on  ;  as  the  baggage  projects  on  each  side,  like  the  paddles  of  a 
steamer,  they  sweep  the  whole  patli.  But  all  wayfaring  details 
in  the  genuine  Spanish  interior  are  calculated  for  the  pack,  as  in 
England  a  century  back ;  and  there  is  no  thought  bestowed  on 
the  foreigner,  who  is  not  wanted,  nay  is  disliked.  The  inns, 
roads,  and  right  sides,  suit  the  natives  and  their  brutes  ;  nor  will 
either  put  themselves  out  of  their  way  to  please  the  fancies  of  a 
stranger.  The  racy  Peninsula  is  too  little  travelled  over  for  its 
natives  to  adopt  the  mercenary  conveniences  of  the  Swiss,  that 
nation  of  innkeepers  and  coach-jobbers. 

8(?  RIDING  TOURS.  fcHAP.  viii 


Riding  Tour  in  Spain— Pleasures  of  it — Pedestrian  Tour — Choice  of  Com- 
panions— Rules  for  a  Riding  Tour — Season  of  Year — Day's  Journey — 
I\Iauagemeut  of  Horse ;  his  Feet ;  Shoes ;  General  Hints. 

A  MAN  in  a  public  carriage  ceases  to  be  a  private  individual : 
he  is  merged  into  the  fare,  and  becomes  a  number  according  to 
his  place ;  he  is  booked  like  a  parcel,  and  is  delivered  by  the 
guard.  IIow  free,  how  lord  and  master  of  himself,  does  the 
same  dependent  gentleman  mount  his  eager  barb,  who  by  his 
neighing  and  pawing  exhibits  his  joyful  impatience  to  be  off  too  ! 
How  fresh  and  sweet  the  free  breath  of  heaven,  after  the  frousty 
atmosphere  of  a  full  inside  of  foreigners,  who,  from  the  narcotic 
effects  of  tobacco,  forget  the  existence  of  soap,  water,  and  clean 
linen  !  Travelling  on  horseback,  so  lumsual  a  gratification  to 
Englishmen,  is  the  ancient,  primitive,  and  once  universal  mode 
of  travelling  in  Europe,  as  it  still  is  in  the  East ;  mankind, 
however,  soon  gets  accustomed  to  a  changed  state  of  locomotion, 
and  forgets  how  recent  is  its  introduction.  Fynes  Morj-son  gave 
much  the  same  advice  two  centuries  ago  to  travellers  in  England, 
as  must  be  now  suggested  to  those  wlio  in  Spain  desert  tlie  coach- 
beaten  highways  for  the  delightful  bye-ways,  and  thus  explore 
the  rarely  visited,  but  not  the  least  interesting  portions  of  the 
Peninsula.  It  has  been  our  good  fortune  to  perform  many  of 
these  expeditions  on  horseback,  both  alone  and  in  company ;  and 
on  one  occasion  to  have  made  the  pilgrimage  from  Seville  to 
Santiago,  through  Estremadura  and  Gallicia,  returning  by  the 
Asturias,  Biscay,  Leon,  and  the  Castiles  ;  thus  riding  nearly  two 
thousand  miles  on  the  same  horse,  and  only  accompanied  by  one 
Andalucian  servant,  who  had  never  before  gone  out  of  his  native 
province.  The  same  tour  was  afterwards  performed  by  two 
friends  with  two  servants ;  nor  did  they  or  ourselves  ever  meet 
with  any  real  impediments  or  difficulties,  scarcely  indeed  suf- 
ficient of  either  to  give  the  flavour  of  adventure,  or  the  dignity 


of  clanger,  to  the  undertaking.  It  has  also  been  our  lot  to  make 
an  extended  tour  of  many  months,  accompanied  by  an  English 
lady,  through  Granada,  Murcia,  Valencia,  Catalonia,  and 
Arragon,  to  say  nothing  of  rejjeated  excursions  througli  every 
nook  and  corner  of  Andalucia.  The  result  of  all  this  experience, 
combined  with  that  of  many  friends,  who  have  ridden  over  the 
Peninsula,  enables  us  to  recommend  tliis  method  to  the  young, 
healthy,  and  adventurous,  as  by  far  the  most  agreeable  plan  of 
proceeding  ;  and,  indeed,  as  we  have  said,  as  regards  two-thirds 
of  the  Peninsula,  the  only  practicable  course. 

The  leading  royal  roads  which  connect  the  capital  with  the 
principal  seaports  are,  indeed,  excellent ;  but  they  are  generally 
drawn  in  a  straight  line,  whereby  many  of  the  most  ancient 
cities  are  thus  left  out,  and  these,  together  with  sites  of  battles 
and  historical  incident,  ruins  and  remains  of  antiquity,  and  scenes 
of  the  greatest  natural  beauty,  are  accessible  with  difficulty,  and 
in  many  cases  only  on  horseback.  Spain  abounds  with  wide 
tracts  which  are  perfectly  unknown  to  the  Geographical  Society. 
Here,  indeed,  is  fresh  ground  open  to  all  who  aspire  in  these 
threadbare  days  to  book  something  new  ;  here  is  scenery  enough 
to  fill  a  dozen  portfolios,  and  subject  enough  for  a  score  of 
quartos.  How  many  flowers  pine  unbotanised,  how  many  rocks 
harden  ungeologised  ;  what  views  are  dying  to  be  sketched  ;  what 
bears  and  deer  to  be  stalked  ;  what  trout  to  be  caught  and 
eaten  ;  what  valleys  expand  their  bosoms,  longing  to  embrace 
their  visitor ;  what  virgin  beauties  hitherto  vmseen  await  the 
happy  member  of  the  Travellers'  Club,  who  in  ten  days  can  ex- 
change the  bore  of  eternal  Pall  Mall  for  these  untrodden  sites  ; 
and  then  what  an  accession  of  dignity  in  thus  discovering  a  terra 
incognita,  and  rivalling  Mr.  Mungo  Park  !  Nor  is  a  guide  want- 
ing, since  our  good  friend  John  Murray,  the  grand  monarque  of 
Handbooks,  has  proclaimed  from  Albemarle  Street,  //  ny  a 
plus  de  Pyrenees. 

As  the  wnde  extent  of  country  which  intervenes  between  the 
radii  of  the  great  roads  is  most  indifferently  provided  with  public 
means  of  inter-communication ;  as  there  is  little  traffic,  and  no 
demand  for  modern  conveyances— even  mules  and  horses  are  not 
always  to  be  procured,  and  we  have  always  found  it  best  to  set 
out  on  these  distant  excursions  with  our  own  beasts :  the  com- 


82  HINTS  TO  TRAVELLERS.  [chap.  viii. 

fort  and  certainty  of  this  precaution  have  been  corroborated  be- 
yond any  doubt  by  frequent  comparisons  with  the  discomforts 
undergone  by  other  persons,  who  trusted  to  chance  accommoda- 
tions and  means  of  locomotion  in  ill-provided  districts  and  out- 
of-the-way  excursions :  indeed,  as  a  general  rule,  the  traveller 
will  do  well  to  carry  with  him  everything  with  which  from 
habit  he  feels  that  he  cannot  dispense.  The  chief  object  will  be 
to  combine  in  as  small  a  space  as  possible  the  greatest  quantity 
of  portable  comfort,  taking  care  to  select  the  really  essential ; 
for  there  is  no  worse  mistake  than  lumbering  oneself  with  things 
that  are  never  wanted.  This  mode  of  travelling  has  not  been 
much  detailed  by  the  generality  of  authors,  who  have  rarely  gone 
much  out  of  the  beaten  track,  or  undertaken  a  long-continued 
riding  tour,  and  they  have  been  rather  inclined  to  overstate  the 
dangers  and  difficulties  of  a  plan  which  they  have  never  tried. 
At  the  same  time  this  plan  is  not  to  be  recommended  to  fine 
ladies  nor  to  delicate  gentlemen,  nor  to  those  who  have  had  a 
touch  of  rheumatism,  or  who  tremble  at  the  shadows  which 
coming  gout  casts  before  it. 

Those  who  have  endurance  and  curiosity  enough  to  face  a 
tour  in  Sicily,  may  readily  set  out  for  Spain ;  rails  and  post- 
horses  certainly  get  quicker  over  the  country  ;  but  the  pleasure 
of  the  remembrance  and  the  benefits  derived  by  travel  are  com- 
monly in  an  inverse  ratio  to  the  ease  and  rapidity  with  which 
tiie  journey  is  performed.  In  addition  to  the  accurate  know- 
ledge which  is  thus  acquired  of  the  country  (for  there  is  no  map 
like  this  mode  of  survejang),  and  an  acquaintance  with  a  con- 
siderable, and  by  no  means  the  worst  portion  of  its  population,  a 
riding  expedition  to  a  civilian  is  almost  equivalent  to  serving  a 
campaign.  It  imparts  a  new  life,  whicli  is  adopted  on  the  spot, 
and  which  soon  appears  quite  natural,  from  being  in  perfect 
harmony  and  fitness  with  everything  around,  however  strange 
to  all  previous  habits  and  notions  ;  it  takes  tiie  conceit  out  of  a 
man  for  tlie  rest  of  his  life — it  makes  him  bear  and  forbear.  It 
is  a  capital  practical  school  of  moral  discipline,  just  as  the 
hardiest  mariners  are  nurtured  in  the  roughest  seas.  Then  and 
there  Mill  be  learnt  golden  rules  of  patience,  perseverance,  good 
temper,  and  good  fellowship:  the  individual  man  must  come  out, 
for  better  or  worse.     On  these  occasions,  where  wealth  and  rank 


are  stripped  of  the  aids  and  appurtenances  of  conventional  supe- 
riority, a  man  will  draw  more  on  his  own  resources,  moral  and 
physical,  than  on  any  letter  of  credit ;  his  wit  will  be  sharpened 
by  invention-suggesting  necessity. 

Then  and  there,  when  up,  about,  and  abroad,  will  be  shaken 
off  dull  sloth  ;  action — Demosthenic  action — will  be  the  watch- 
word. The  traveller  will  blot  out  from  his  dictionary  the  fatal 
Spanish  phrase  of  procrastination  hy-and-by,  a  street  which 
leads  to  the  house  oi  never,  for  '■^ j)or  la  calle  de  despues,  se  va  a 
la  casa  de  nuncay  Reduced  to  shift  for  himself,  he  will  see 
the  evil  of  waste — the  folly  of  improvidence  and  want  of  order. 
He  will  whistle  to  the  winds  the  paltry  excuse  of  idleness,  the 
Spanish  "  no  se  puede"  "  it  is  impossible."  He  will  soon  learn, 
by  grappling  with  difficulties,  how  surely  they  are  overcome, — 
how  soft  as  silk  becomes  the  nettle  when  it  is  sternly  grasped, 
which  would  sting  the  tender-handed  toucli, — how  powerful  a 
principle  of  realising  the  object  proposed,  is  the  moral  conviction 
that  we  can  and  will  accomplish  it.  He  will  never  be  scared  by 
shadows  thin  as  air,  for  when  one  door  shuts  another  opens, 
and  he  who  pushes  on  arrives.  And  after  all,  a  dash  of 
hardsliip  may  be  endured  by  those  accustomed  to  loll  in  easy 
biitzskas,  if  only  for  the  sake  of  novelty  ;  what  a  new  relish 
is  given  to  the  palled  appetite  by  a  little  unknown  privation  ! — 
hunger  being,  as  Cervantes  says,  the  best  of  sauces,  which,  as  it 
never  is  wanting  to  the  poor,  is  the  reason  why  eating  is  their 
hug-e  delight. 

Again,  these  sorts  of  independent  expeditions  are  equally 
conducive  to  health  of  body  :  after  the  first  few  days  of  the  new 
fatigue  are  got  over,  the  frame  becomes  of  iron,  "  heclto  de  bronze" 
and  the  rider,  a  centaur  not  fabulous.  The  living  in  the  pure 
air,  the  sustaining  excitement  of  novelty,  exercise,  and  constant 
occupation,  are  all  sweetened  by  the  willing  heart,  which  renders 
even  labour  itself  a  pleasure  ;  a  new  and  vigorous  life  is  infused 
into  every  bone  and  muscle :  early  to  bed  and  early  to  rise,  if  it 
does  not  make  all  brains  wise,  at  least  invigorates  the  gastric 
juices,  makes  a  man  forget  that  he  has  a  liver,  that  storeiiouse  of 
mortal  misery — bile,  blue  pill,  and  blue  devils.  This  health  is 
one  of  the  secrets  of  the  amazing  charm  which  seems  inherent  to 
this  mode  of  travelling,  in  spite  of  all   the  apparent  hardships 


84  DELIGHTS  OF  A  TOUR.  [chap.  viii. 

with  which  it  is  surrounded  in  the  abstract.  Oh  !  the  delight  of 
this  gipsy,  Bedouin,  nomade  life,  seasoned  with  unfettered  liberty  ! 
We  pitch  our  tent  wherever  we  please,  and  there  we  make  our 
home— far  from  letters  "  requiring  an  immediate  answer,"  and 
distant  dining-outs,  visits,  ladies'  maids,  band-boxes,  butlers^ 
bores,  and  button-holders. 

Escaping  from  the  meshes  of  the  west  end  of  London,  we  are 
transported  into  a  new  world  ;  every  day  the  out-of-door  pan- 
orama is  varied  ;  now  the  heart  is  cheered  and  the  countenance 
made  glad  by.  gazing  on  plains  overflowing  with  milk  and  honey, 
or  laughing  with  oil  and  wine,  where  the  orange  and  citron  bask 
in  the  glorious  sunbeams,  the  palm  without  the  desert,  the  sugar- 
cane without  the  slave.  Anon  we  are  lost  amid  the  silence  of  cloud- 
capped  glaciers,  where  rock  and  granite  are  tost  about  like  the 
fragments  of  a  broken  world,  by  the  wild  magnificence  of  Nature, 
who,  careless  of  mortal  admiration,  lavishes  with  proud  indif- 
ference her  fairest  charms  where  most  unseen,  her  grandest 
forms  where  most  inaccessible.  Every  day  and  everywhere  we 
are  unconsciously  funding  a  stock  of  treasures  and  pleasures  of 
memory,  to  be  hived  in  our  bosoms  like  the  honey  of  the  bee,  to 
cheer  and  sweeten  our  after-life,  when  we  settle  down  like  wine- 
dregs  in  our  cask,  which,  delightful  even  as  in  the  reality,  wax 
stronger  as  v/e  grow  in  years,  and  feel  that  these  feats  of  our 
youth,  like  sweet  youth  itself,  can  never  be  our  portion  agciin. 
Of  one  thing  the  reader  may  be  assured, — that  dear  will  be  to 
him,  as  is  now  to  us,  the  remembrance  of  those  wild  and  weary 
rides  through  tawny  Spain,  where  hardship  was  forgotten  ere 
undergone :  those  sweet-aired  hills — those  rocky  crags  and 
torrents — those  fresh  valleys  which  communicated  their  own 
freshness  to  the  heart — that  keen  relish  for  hard  fare,  gained  and 
seasoned  by  hunger  sauce,  which  Ude  did  not  invent — those  sound 
slumbers  on  harder  couch,  earned  by  fatigue,  the  downiest  of 
pillows — the  braced  nerves — the  spirits  light,  elastic,  and  joyous 
— that  freedom  from  care — that  health  of  body  and  soul  which 
ever  rewards  a  close  communion  with  Nature — and  the  shuffling 
off  of  the  frets  and  factitious  wants  of  the  thick-pent  artificial 

Whatever  be  the  number  of  the   party,   and  however  they 
travel,  whether  on  wheels  or  horseback,  admitting  even  that  a 


pleasant  friend  pro  vehiculo  est,  that  is,  is  better  than  a  post- 
chaise,  yet  no  one  should  ever  dream  of  making  a  pedestrian 
tour  in  Spain.  It  seldom  answers  anywhere,  as  the  walker 
arrives  at  the  object  of  his  promenade  tired  and  hungry,  just  at 
the  moment  when  he  ought  to  be  the  freshest  and  most  up  to 
intellectual  pleasures.  The  deipnosophist  Athenseus  long  ago 
discovered  that  there  was  no  love  for  tlie  sublime  and  beautiful 
in  an  empty  stomach,  eesthetics  yield  then  to  gastronomies,  and 
there  is  no  prospect  in  the  world  so  fine  as  that  of  a  dinner  and  a 
nap,  or  siesta  afterwards.  The  pedestrian  in  Spain,  where 
fleshly  comforts  arp  rare,  will  soon  understand  why,  in  the  real 
journals  of  our  Peninsular  soldiers,  so  little  attention  is  paid  to 
those  objects  which  most  attract  the  well-provided  traveller. 
In  cases  of  bodily  hardship,  the  employment  of  the  mental  facul- 
ties is  narrowed  into  the  care  of  supplying  mere  physical  wants, 
rather  than  expanded  into  searching  for  those  of  a  contemplative 
or  intellectual  gratification  ;  the  footsore  and  way-worn  require, 
according  to 

"  The  unexempt  condition 

By  which  all  mortal  frailty  must  subsist, 

Refreshment  after  toil,  ease  after  pain." 

Walking  is  the  manner  by  which  beasts  travel,  who  have 
therefore  four  legs ;  those  bipeds  who  follow  the  example  of  the 
brute  animals  will  soon  find  that  they  will  be  reduced  to  their 
level  in  more  particidars  than  they  imagined  or  bargained  for. 
Again,  as  no  Spaniard  ever  walks  for  pleasure,  and  none  ever 
perform  a  journey  on  foot  except  trampers  and  beggars,  it  js 
never  supposed  possible  that  any  one  else  should  do  so  except 
from  compulsion.  Pedestrians  therefore  are  either  ill  received, 
or  become  objects  of  universal  suspicion  ;  for  a  Spanish  autho- 
"ty,  judging  of  others  by  himself,  always  takes  the  v/orst  view 
of  the  stranger,  whom  he  considers  as  guilty  until  he  proves 
.himself  innocent. 

Before  the  pleasures  of  a  riding  tour  through  Spain  are  men- 
tioned, a  few  observations  on  the  choice  of  companions  may  be 

Those  who  travel  in  public  conveyances  or  with  muleteers  are 
seldom  likely  to  be  left  alone.  It  is  the  horseman  who  strikes 
into  out-of-the-way,  unfrequented  districts,  who  will  feel   the 

86  OCCASIONAL  DEPRESSION.  [chap.  viii. 

want  of  that  important  item — a  travelling  companion,  on  which, 
as  in  choosing  a  wife,  it  is  easy  enough  to  give  advice.  The 
patient  must,  however,  administer  to  himself,  and  the  selection 
will  depend,  of  course,  much  on  the  taste  and  idiosyncracy  of 
each  individual  ;  those  unfortunate  persons  who  are  accustomed 
to  have  everything  their  own  way,  or  those,  happy  ones,  who 
are  never  less  alone  than  when  alone,  and  who  possess  the  alchymy 
of  finding  resources  and  amusements  in  themselves,  may  perhaps 
find  that  plan  to  be  the  best ;  at  all  events,  no  company  is  better 
than  bad  company :  "  mas  vale  ir  solo,  que  mal  acompanado." 
A.  solitaiy  wanderer  is  certainly  the  most  unfettered  as  regards 
his  notions  and  motions,  "  no  ten  go  padre  ni  madre,  ni  perro 
que  me  ladre."  He  who  has  "  neither  father,  mother,  nor  dog  to 
bark  at  him,"  can  read  the  book  of  Spain,  as  it  were,  in  his  own 
room,  dwelling  on  what  he  likes,  and  skipping  what  he  does  not, 
as  wdth  a  red  Murray. 

Every  coin  has,  however,  its  reverse,  and  every  rose  its  thorn. 
ITotwithstanding  these  and  other  obvious  advantages,  and  the 
tendency  that  occupation  and  even  hardships  have  to  drive  away 
imaginary  evils,  this  freedom  will  be  purchased  by  occasional 
moments  of  depression  ;  a  dreary,  forsaken  feeling  will  steal  over 
the  most  cheerful  mind.  It  is  not  good  for  man  to  be  alone  ; 
and  this  social  necessity  never  comes  home  stronger  to  tlie  warm 
heart  than  during  a  long-contiiuaed  solitary  ride  through  the 
rarely  visited  districts  of  the  Peninsula.  The  sentiment  is  in 
perfect  harmony  with  th.e  abstract  feeling  wliich  is  inspired  by 
tiie  present  condition  of  unhappy  Spain,  fallen  from  her  high 
estate,  and  blotted  almost  from  tlie'map  of  Europe.  Silent,  sad, 
and  lonely  is  her  face,  on  which  tiie  stranger  will  too  often  gaze  ; 
her  hedgeless,  treeless  tracts  of  corn-field,  bounded  only  by  the 
low  horizon  ;  her  uninhabited,  uncultivated  plains,  abandoned 
to  the  wild  flower  and  the  bee,  and  which  are  rendered  still  more 
melancholy  by  ruined  castle,  or  village,  which  stand  out  bleach- 
ing skeletons  of  a  former  vitality.  The  dreariness  of  this 
abomination  of  desolation  is  increased  by  the  singular  absence  of 
singing  birds,  and  the  presence  of  the  vulture,  the  eagle,  and 
lonely  l)irds  of  prey.  Tlie  wanderer,  far  from  home  and  friends, 
feels  doubly  a  stranger  in  this  strange  land,  where  no  smile  greets 
his  coming,  no  tear  is  shed  at  his  going, — where  his  memory 

CHAP,  vni.j  SPANISH  MANNERS.  87 

passes  away,  like  that  of  a  guest  who  tarrieth  but  a  day, — where 
nothing  of  human  life  is  seen,  where  its  existence  only  is  inferred 
by  the  rude  wooden  cross  or  stone-piled  cairn,  which  marks  the 
unconsecrated  grave  of  some  traveller  who  has  been  waylaid 
there  alone,  murdered,  and  sent  to  his  account  with  all  his  im- 
perfections on  his  head. 

However  confidently  we  have  relied  on  past  experience  that 
such  would  not  be  our  fate,  yet  these  sorts  of  Spanish  milestones 
marked  witli  memento  mori,  are  awkward  evidences  that  the 
thing  is  not  altogether  impossible.  It  makes  a  single  gentleman, 
whose  life  is  not  insured,  not  only  trust  to  Santiago,  but  keep 
his  powder  dry,  and  look  every  now  and  then  if  his  percussion 
cap  fits.  On  these  occasions  tlie  falling  in  with  any  of  the  no- 
made  half-Bedouin  natives  is  a  sort  of  godsend  ;  their  society  is 
quite  different  from  that  of  a  regular  companion,  for  better  or 
worse  until  death  us  do  part,  as  it  is  casual,  and  may  be  taken  up 
or  dropped  at  convenience.  The  habits  of  all  Spaniards  wlien 
on  the  road  are  remarkably  gregarious  ;  a  common  fear  acts  as  a 
cement,  while  the  more  they  are  in  number  the  merrier.  It  is 
hail !  well  met,  fellow-traveller  !  and  the  being  glad  to  see  each 
other  is  an  excellent  introduction.  The  sight  of  passengers 
bound  our  way  is  like  speaking  a  strange  sail  on  the  Atkmtic, 
Hola  Camara  1  ship  a-hoy.  This  predisposition  tends  to  make 
all  travellers  write  so  much  and  so  handsomely  of  the  lower 
classes  of  Spaniards,  not  indeed  more  than  they  deserve,  for 
they  are  a  fine,  noble  race.  Something  of  this  arises,  because 
on  such  occasions  all  parties  meet  on  an  equality ;  and  this 
levelling  eflfect,  perhaps  unperceived,  induces  many  a  foreigner, 
however  proud  and  reserved  at  home,  to  unbend,  and  that  un- 
affectedly, lie  treats  these  accidental  acquaintances  quite 
differently  from  the  manner  in  which  he  would  venture  to  treat 
the  lower  orders  of  his  own  country,  who,  probably,  if  conciliated 
by  the  same  condescension  of  manner,  would  appear  in  a  more 
amiable  light,  although  they  are  inferior  to  the  Spaniard  in  his 
Oriental  goodness  of  manner,  his  perfect  tact,  his  putting 
himself  and  others  into  their  proper  place,  without  either  self- 
degradation  or  vulgar  assumption  of  social  equality  or  superior 
physical  powers. 

A  long  solitary  ride  is   hardly  to  be  recommended ;  it  is  not 


88  FRIENDSHIPS.  [chap,  vin. 

fair  to  friends  who  have  been  left  anxious  behind,  nor  is  it 
prudent  to  expose  oneself,  without  help,  to  the  common  accidents 
to  wliich  a  horse  and  his  rider  are  always  liable.  Those  who 
have  a  friend  with  whom  they  feel  they  can  venture  to  go  in 
double  harness,  had  better  do  so.  It  is  a  severe  test,  and  the 
trial  becomes  greater  in  proportion  as  hardsliips  abound  and 
accommodations  are  scanty — causes  which  sour  the  milk  of  human 
kindness,  and  prove  indifferent  restorers  of  stomach  or  temper. 
It  is  on  these  occasions,  on  a  large  journey  and  in  a  small  venta, 
that  a  man  finds  out  what  his  friend  really  is  made  of.  While 
in  the  more  serious  necessities  of  danger,  sickness,  and  need — 
a  friend  is  one  indeed,  and  the  one  thing  wanting,  with  whom  we 
share  our  last  morsel  and  cup  gladly.  The  salt  of  good  fellow- 
ship, if  it  cannot  work  miracles  as  to  quantity,  converts  the  small 
loaf  into  a  respectable  abstract  feed,  by  the  zest  and  satisfaction 
with  which  it  flavours  it. 

Nothing,  moreover,  cements  friendships  for  the  future  like 
having  made  one  of  these  conjoint  rambles,  provided  it  did  not 
end  in  a  quarrel.  The  mere  fact  of  having  travelled  at  all  in 
Spain  has  a  peculiarity  which  is  denied  to  the  more  hackneyed 
countries  of  Europe.  When  we  are  introduced  to  a  person  who 
has  visited  these  spell-casting  sites,  we  feel  as  if  we  knew  him 
already.  There  is  a  sort  of  freemasonry  in  having  done  some- 
thins"  in  common,  which  is  not  in  common  with  the  world  at 
large.  Those  who  are  about  to  qualify  themselves  for  this  ex- 
clusive quality  will  do  well  not  to  let  the  party  exceed  five  in 
number,  three  masters  and  two  servants  ;  two  masters  with  two 
servants  are  perhaps  more  likely  to  be  better  accommodated  ;  a 
third  person,  however,  is  often  of  use  in  trying  journeys,  as  an 
arbiter  elegantiarum  et  rixarum,  a  referee  and  arbitrator  ;  for  in 
the  best  regulated  teams  it  must  happen  tliat  some  one  will 
occasionally  start,  gib,  or  bolt,  when  the  majority  being  against 
him  brings  the  offender  to  his  proper  senses.  Four  eyes,  again, 
see  better  than  two,  "  mas  ven  cuatro  ojos  que  dos." 

By  attending  to  a  few  simple  rules,  a  tour  of  some  months' 
duration,  and  over  thousands  of  miles,  may  be  performed  on  one 
and  the  same  horse,  who  with  his  rider  will  at  thfc  end  of  the 
journey  be  neither  sick  nor  sorry,  but  in  such  capita)  condition 
as  to  be  ready  to  start  again.     We  presume  that  the  time  will 


be  chosen  when  the  days  are  long  and  Nature  has  thrown  aside 
her  wintry  garb.  Fine  weather  is  the  joy  of  the  wayfarer's 
soul,  and  nothing  can  be  more  different  than  tlie  aspect  of 
Spanish  villages  in  good  or  in  bad  weather ;  as  in  the  East, 
during  wintry  rains  they  are  the  acmes  of  mud  and  misery,  but 
let  the  sun  shine  out,  and  all  is  gilded.  It  is  the  smile  which 
lights  up  the  habitually  sad  expression  of  a  Spanish  woman's 
face.  The  blessed  beam  cheers  poverty  itself,  and  by  its  stimu- 
lating, exhilarating  action  on  the  system  of  man,  enables  him  to 
buffet  asrainst  the  moral  evils  to  which  countries  the  most 
favoured  by  climate  seem,  as  if  it  were  from  compensation,  to 
be  more  exposed  than  those  where  the  skies  are  dull,  and  the 
winds  bleak  and  cold. 

As  in  our  cavalry  regiments,  where  real  service  is  required,  a 
perfect  animal  is  preferred,  a  rider  should  choose  a  mare  rather 
tlian  a  gelding  ;  the  use  of  entire  horses  is,  however,  so  general 
in  Spain,  that  one  of  such  had  better  be  selected  than  a  mare.  The 
day's  journey  will  vary  according  to  circumstances  from  twenty- 
five  to  forty  miles.  The  start  should  be  made  before  daybreak, 
and  the  horse  well  fed  at  least  an  hour  before  the  journey  is  com- 
menced, during  which  Spaniards,  if  they  can,  go  to  church,  for 
they  say  that  no  time  is  ever  lost  on  a  journey  by  feeding  horses 
and  men  and  hearing  masses,  misa  y  cehada  no  estorhan  Jornada. 

The  hours  of  starting,  of  course,  depend  on  the  distance  and 
the  district.  The  sooner  the  better,  as  all  who  wish  to  cheat  the 
devil  must  get  up  very  early.  "  Quien  al  demonio  quiere  en- 
gahar,  muy  iempi-ano  levantarse  ha."  It  is  a  great  thing  for 
the  traveller  to  reach  his  night  quarters  as  soon  as  he  can,  for 
the  first  comers  are  the  best  served :  borrow  therefore  an  hour 
of  the  morning  rather  than  from  the  night ;  and  that  hour,  if  you 
lose  it  at  starting,  you  will  never  overtake  in  the  day.  Again,  in 
the  summer  it  is  both  agreeable  and  profitable  to  be  under  weigh 
and  off  at  least  an  hour  or  two  before  sunrise,  as  the  heat  soon 
gets  insupportable,  and  the  stranger  is  exposed  to  the  tabardillo, 
the  coup  de  soleil,  whicli,  even  in  a  smaller  degree,  occasions 
more  ill  health  in  Spain  than  is  generally  imagined,  and  espe- 
cially by  the  English,  who  brave  it  either  from  ignorance  or 
foolhardiness.  The  head  should  be  well  protected  with  a  silk 
handkerchief,  tied  after  a  turban  flishion,  which  all  the  natives 

90  TRAVELLING  PACE.  [chap.  viii. 

do  ;  in  addition  to  which  we  always  lined  the  inside  of  our  hats 
with  thickly  doubled  brown  paper.  In  Andalucia,  during 
summer,  the  muleteers  travel  by  night,  and  rest  during  the  day- 
heat,  which,  however,  is  not  a  satisfactory  method,  except  for 
those  who  wish  to  see  nothing.  We  have  never  adopted  it. 
The  early  mornings  and  cool  afternoons  and  evenings  are  infi- 
nitely preferable ;  while  to  the  artist  the  glorious  sunrises  and 
sunsets,  and  the  marking  of  mountains,  and  definition  of  forms 
from  tlie  long  shadows,  are  magnificent  beyond  all  conception. 
In  these  almost  tropical  countries,  when  the  sun  is  liigh,  the 
effect  of  shadow  is  lost,  and  everything  looks  flat  and  unpic- 

The  journey  should  be  divided  into  two  portions,  and  the 
longest  should  be  accomplished  the  first :  the  pace  should 
average  about  five  miles  an  hour,  it  being  an  object  not  to  keep 
the  animal  unnecessarily  on  liis  legs:  he  may  be  trotted  gently, 
and  even  up  easy  hills,  but  sliould  always  be  walked  down  them  ; 
nay,  if  led,  so  mucli  the  better,  which  benefits  botli  horse  and 
rider.  It  is  surprising  how  a  steady,  continued  slow  pace  gets 
over  the  ground :  Chi  va  piano,  va  sano,  e  lontano,  says  the 
Italian ;  paso  a  paso  va  lejos,  step  by  step  goes  far,  responds  the 
Castilian.  The  end  of  the  journey  each  day  is  settled  before 
starting,  and  there  the  traveller  is  sure  to  ari'ive  with  the  even- 
ing. Spaniards  never  fidget  themselves  to  get  quickly  to  places 
ivhere  nobody  is  expecting  them :  nor  is  there  any  good  to  be 
got  in  trying  to  hurry  man  or  beast  in  Spain  ;  you  might  as 
well  think  of  hurrying  the  Court  of  Chancery.  The  animals 
should  be  rested,  if  possible,  every  fourth  day,  and  not  used 
during  halts  in  towns,  unless  they  exceed  three  days'  sojourn. 

On  arriving  at  every  halting-place,  look  first  at  the  feet,  and  pick 
out  any  pebbles  or  dirt,  and  examine  the  nails  and  shoes  carefully, 
to  see  that  nothing  is  loose ;  let  this  inspection  become  a  habit ; 
do  not  wash  the  feet  too  soon,  as  the  sudden  chill  sometimes  pro- 
duces fever  in  them  :  when  they  are  cool,  clean  them  and  grease 
the  hoof  well ;  after  that  you  may  wash  as  much  as  you  please. 
The  best  thing,  however,  is  to  feed  your  horse  at  once,  before 
thinking  of  his  toilet ;  the  march  will  have  given  an  appetite, 
while  the  fatigue  requires  immediate  restoration.  If  a  horse  is 
to  be  worried  with  cleaning,  &c.,  he  often  loses  heart  and  gets 


off  his  feed  :  he  may  be  rubbed  down  when  he  has  done  eating, 
and  his  bed  should  be  made  up  as  for  night,  the  stable  darkened, 
and  the  animal  left  quite  quiet,  and  the  longer  the  better  :  feed 
him  well  again  an  hour  before  starting  for  the  afternoon  stage, 
and  treat  him  on  coming  in  exactly  as  you  did  in  the  morning. 
The  food  must  be  regulated  by  the  work  :  when  that  is  severe, 
give  corn  with  both  hands,  and  stint  the  hay  and  other  lumber : 
what  you  want  is  to  concentrate  support  by  quality,  not  quantity. 
The  Spaniard  will  tell  you  that  one  mouthful  of  beef  is  worth 
ten  of  potatoes.  If  your  horse  is  an  Englisli  one,  it  must  be  re- 
membered that  eight  poiuids'  weight  of  barley  is  equal  to  ten  of 
oats,  as  containing  less  husk  and  more  mucilage  or  starch,  which 
our  horse-dealers  know  when  they  want  to  7nake  up  a  liorse ; 
overfeeding  a  horse  in  the  hot  climate  of  Spain,  like  overfeeding 
his  rider,  renders  both  liable  to  fevers  and  sudden  inflammatory 
attacks,  which  are  much  more  prevalent  in  Gibraltar  than  else- 
where in  Spain,  because  our  countrymen  will  go  on  exactly  as  if 
they  were  at  home. 

At  all  events,  feed  your  horse  well  with  something  or  other,  or 
your  Spanish  squire  will  rain  proverbs  on  you,  like  Sancho 
Panza ;  the  belly  must  be  filled  with  hay  or  straw,  for  it  in 
reality  carries  the  feet,  O  paja  a  heno  el  vientre  lleno — tripas 
llevan  a  pies,  and  so  forth.  The  Spaniards  when  on  a  journey 
allow  their  horses  to  drink  copiously  at  every  stream,  saying  that 
there  is  no  juice  like  that  of  flints ;  and  indeed  they  set  the 
example,  for  they  are  all  down  on  their  bellies  at  every  brook, 
swilling  water,  according  to  the  proverb,  like  an  ox,  and  wine 
when  they  can  get  it,  like  a  king.  If  therefore  you  are  riding  a 
Spanish  horse  which  has  been  accustomed  to  this  continual 
tippling,  let  him  drink,  otherwise  he  will  be  fevered.  If  tlie 
horse  has  been  treated  in  the  English  fashion,  give  him  his 
water  only  after  his  meals,  otherwise  he  will  break  out  into 
weakening  sweats.  Should  the  animal  ever  arrive  distressed,  a 
tepid  gruel,  made  with  oatmeal  or  even  flour,  will  comfort  him 
much.  At  nightfall  stop  the  feet  with  wet  tow,  or  witli  horse 
dung,  for  tiiat  of  cows  will  seldom  be  to  be  had  in  Spain,  where 
goats  furnish  milk,  and  Dutchmen  butter. 

Let  the  feet  be  constantly  attended  to  ;  the  horse  having  twice 
as  many  as  his  rider,  requires  double  attention,  and  of  what  use 

92  THE  HORSE'S  FOOT.  [chap.  viii. 

to  a  traveller  is  a  quadruped  that  has  not  a  leg  to  go  upon  ? 
This  is  well  known  to  those  commercial  gentlemen,  who  are  the 
only  persons  now-a-days  in  England  who  make  riding  journeys. 
It  is  the  shoe  that  makes  or  mars  the  horse,  and  no  wise  man,  in 
Spain  or  out,  who  has  got  a  four-footed  hobby,  or  three  half- 
crowns,  should  delay  sending  to  Longman's  for  that  admirable 
"  Miles  on  the  Horse's  Foot."  "  Every  knight  errant,"  says  Don 
Quixote,  "  ought  to  be  able  to  shoe  his  own  Rosmcmte  himself." 
Rosin  is  pure  Arabic  for  a  hackney — at  least  he  should  know  how 
this  calceolation  ought  to  be  done.  As  a  general  rule,  always 
take  your  quadruped  to  the  forge,  where  the  shoes  can  be  fitted  to 
his  feet,  not  the  feet  to  ready-made  shoes  ;  and  if  you  value  the 
comfort,  the  extension  of  life  and  service  of  your  steed— fasten 
the  fore  shoes  with  five  7iails  at  most  in  the  outside,  and  with 
two  only  in  the  inside,  and  those  near  the  toe ;  do  not  in  mercy 
fix  by  nails  all  round  an  unyielding  rim  of  dead  iron,  to  an  expand- 
ing living  hoof;  remember  also  always  to  take  with  you  a  spare 
set  of  shoes,  with  nails  and  a  hammer — for  the  want  of  a  nail  the 
shoe  was  lost ;  for  the  want  of  a  shoe  the  rider  was  tost.  In 
many  parts  of  Spain,  where  there  are  no  fine  modern  roads,  you 
might  almost  do  without  any  shoes  at  all,  as  the  ancients  did, 
and  is  done  in  parts  of  Mexico  ;  but  no  unprotected  hoof  can  stand 
the  constant  wear  and  tear,  the  filing  of  a  macadamised  highway. 
The  horse  will  probably  be  soon  in  such  condition  as  to  want 
no  more  physic  than  his  rider;  a  lump,  however,  of  rock-salt, 
and  a  bit  of  chalk  put  at  night  into  his  manger,  answers  the 
same  purposes  as  Epsoms  and  soda  do  to  the  master.  You 
should  wash  out  the  long  tail  and  mane,  which  is  the  glory  of  a 
Spanish  horse,  as  fine  hair  is  to  a  woman,  with  soda  and  water  ; 
the  alkali  combining  with  the  animal  grease  forms  a  most 
searching  detergent.  A  grand  remedy  for  most  of  the  accidents 
to  Avhich  horses  are  liable  on  a  journey,  such  as  kicks,  cuts, 
strains,  &c.,  is  a  constant  fomentation  with  hot  water,  which 
should  be  done  under  the  immediate  superintendence  of  the 
master,  or  it  will  be  either  done  insufficiently,  or  not  done  at 
all ;  hot  water,  according  to  the  groom  genus,  having  been 
created  principally  as  a  recipient  of  something  stronger.  A 
crupper  and  breastplate  are  almost  indispensable,  from  the  steep 
ascents  and  descents  in  the  mountains.     The  mosquero,  the  fly- 

CHAP,  vni.]  THE  MOSQUERO.  93 

flapper,  is  a  great  comfort  to  the  horse,  as,  being  in  perpetual 
motion,  and  hanging  between  his  eyes,  it  keeps  off  the  flies  ;  the 
head-stall,  or  night  halter,  never  should  be  removed  from  the 
bridle,  but  be  rolled  up  during  the  day,  and  fastened  along  the 
side  of  the  cheek.  The  long  tail  is  also  rolled  up  when  the  ways 
are  miry,  just  as  those  of  our  blue  jackets  and  horse-guards  used 
to  be. 

94  THE  RIDER'S  COSTUME.  [chap.  ix. 


The  Rider's  Costume — Alforjas:  their  contents — The  Bota,  and  How 
to  use  it — Pig  Skins  and  Borracha — Spanish  Money — Onzas  and  smaller 

The  rider's  costume  and  accoutrements  require  consideration ; 
his  great  object  should  be  to  pass  in  a  crowd,  either  unnoticed, 
or  to  be  taken  for  "  one  of  us,"  Vno  de  Nosotros,  and  a  member 
of  the  Iberian  family — de  la  Familia :  this  is  best  effected  by 
adopting  the  dress,  that  is  usually  worn  by  the  natives  when  they 
travel  on  horseback,  or  journey  by  any  of  their  national  convey- 
ances, among  which  Anglo-Franco  mails  and  diligences  are  not 
yet  to  be  reckoned  ;  all  classes  of  Spaniards,  on  getting  outside 
the  town-gate,  assume  country  habits,  and  eschew  the  long-tailed 
coats  and  civilization  of  the  city ;  they  drop  pea-jackets  and 
foreign  fashions,  which  would  only  attract  attention,  and  expose 
the  wearers  to  the  ridicule  or  coarser  marks  of  consideration  from 
the  peasantry,  muleteers,  and  other  gentry,  who  rule  on  the 
road,  hate  novelties,  and  hold  fast  to  the  ways  and  jackets  of 
their  forefathers  ;  the  best  hat,  therefore,  is  the  common  som- 
brero calanes,  which  resemble  those  worn  at  Astley'sby  banditti, 
being  of  a  conical  shape,  is  edged  with  black  velvet,  ornamented 
with  silken  tufts,  and  looks  equally  well  on  a  cockney  from 
London,  or  on  a  squire  from  Devonshire.  The  jacket  should  be 
the  universal  fur  Zamarra,  which  is  made  of  black  sheepskin,  in 
its  ordinary  form,  and  of  lambskin  for  those  who  can  pay  ;  a 
sash  round  the  waist  should  never  be  forgotten,  being  most  useful 
both  in  reality  and  metaplior  :  it  sustains  the  loins,  and  keeps  off 
tlie  dangerous  colics  of  Spain,  by  maintaining  an  equable  heat 
over  the  abdomen  ;  hence,  to  be  Homerically  well  girt  is  half 
the  battle  for  the  Peninsular  traveller. 

The  capa  the  cloak,  or  the  manta  a  striped  plaid,  and  saddle- 
bags, the  Alforjas,  are  absolute  essentials,  and  should  be  strapped 
on  the  pommel  of  the  saddle,  as  being  there  less  heating  to  the 
horse  tlian  when  placed  on  his  flanks,  and  being  in  front,  they 


are  more  handy  for  sudden  use,  since  in  the  mountains  and 
valleys,  the  rider  is  constantly  exposed  to  sudden  variations  of 
wind  and  weather  ;  when  ^olus  and  Sol  contend  for  his  cloak, 
as  in  ^sop's  Fables,  and  the  buckets  of  heaven  are  emptied  on 
him  as  soon  as  the  god  of  fire  thinks  him  sufficiently  baked. 

These  saddle-bags  are  most  classical,  Oriental,  and  convenient ; 
they  indeed  constitute  the  genus  bagsman^  and  have  given  their 
name  to  our  riding  travellers  ;  they  are  the  Sarcince  of  Cato  the 
Censor,  the  Bulgce  of  Lucilius,  who  made  an  epigram  thereon  : — 

"  Cum  bulgd  coenat,  dormit,  lavat,  omnis  in  una. 
Spes  hominis  hulga  hac  devincta  est  coctera  vita  :" 

which,  as  these  indispensables  are  quite  as  necessary  to  the 
modern  Spaniard,  may  be  thus  translated : — 

"  A  good  roomy  bag  delighteth  a  Roman, 

He  is  never  ■without  this  appendage  a  minute ; 
In  bed,  at  the  bath,  at  his  meals, — in  short  no  man 
Should  fail  to  stow  life,  hope,  and  self  away  in  it." 

The  countrymen  of  Sancho  Panza,  wlien  on  tlie  road,  make 
the  same  use  of  their  wallets  as  the  Romans  did  ;  they  still  (the 
washing  excepted)  live  and  die  with  these  bags,  in  which  their 
hearts  are  deposited  with  their  bread  and  cheese. 

These  Spanish  alforjas,  in  name  and  appearance,  are  the 
Moorish  al  horeh.  (The  F  and  H,  like  the  B  and  V,  X  and  J, 
are  almost  equivalent,  and  are  used  indiscriminately  in  Spanish 
cacography.)  They  are  generally  composed  of  cotton  and 
.  worsted,  and  are  embroidered  in  gaudy  colours  and  patterns ; 
the  correct  thing  is  to  have  the  owner's  name  worked  in  on  the 
edge,  which  ought  to  be  done  by  the  delicate  hand  of  his  beloved 
mistress.  Those  made  at  Granada  are  very  excellent ;  the 
Moorish,  especially  tliose  from  Morocco,  are  ornamented  with 
an  infinity  of  small  tassels.  Peasants,  when  dismounted,  mendi- 
cant monks,  when  foraging  for  their  convents,  sling  their  alforjas 
over  their  shoulders  when  they  come  into  villages. 

Among  the  contents  which  most  people  will  find  it  convenient 
to  carry  in  the  right-hand  bag,  as  the  easiest  to  be  got  at,  a  pair 
of  blue  gauze  wire  spectacles  or  goggles  will  be  found  useful,  as 
ophtlialmia  is  very  common  in  Spain,  and  particularly  in  the  cal- 
cined central  i)lains.  The  constant  glare  is  unrelieved  by  any 
verdure,  the  air  is  dry,  and  the  clouds  of  dust  highly  irritating 

96  WHAT  TO  STOW  AWAY  IN  THE  ALFORJAS.    [chap.  ix. 

from  being  impregnated  with  nitre.  The  best  remedy  is  to 
bathe  the  eyes  frequently  with  hot  water,  and  never  to  rub  them 
when  inflamed,  except  with  the  elbows,  los  ojos  con  los  codos. 
Spaniards  never  jest  with  their  eyes  or  faith  ;  of  the  two  perhaps 
they  are  seriously  fondest  of  the  former,  not  merely  when  spark- 
ling beneath  the  arched  eyebrow  of  the  dark  sex,  but  when  set 
in  their  own  heads.  "  I  love  thee  like  my  eyes,"  is  quite  a 
hackneyed  form  of  affection  ;  nor,  however  wratiiful  and  impreca- 
tory, do  they  under  any  circumstance  express  the  slightest 
uncharitable  wishes  in  regard  to  the  visual  organs  of  their  bit- 
terest foe. 

The  whole  art  of  the  alforjas  is  the  putting  into  them  what  you 
want  the  most  often,  and  in  the  most  handy  and  accessible  place. 
Keep  here,  therefore,  a  supply  of  small  money  for  the  halt  and 
the  blind,  for  the  piteous  cases  of  human  suffering  and  poverty 
by  which  the  traveller's  eye  will  be  pained  in  a  land  where  soup- 
dispensing  monks  are  done  away  with,  and  assistant  new  poor 
law  commissioners  not  yet  appointed  ;  such  charity  from  God's 
purse,  holsa  de  Dios,  never  impoverishes  that  of  man,  and  a 
cheerful  giver,  however  opposed  to  modern  political  economists, 
is  commended  in  that  old-fashioned  book  called  the  Bible.  The 
left  half  of  the  alforjas  may  be  apportioned  to  the  writing  and 
dressing  cases,  and  the  smaller  each  are  the  better. 

Food  for  tlie  mind  must  not  be  neglected.  The  travelling 
library,  like  companions,  should  be  select  and  good  ;  libros  y 
amiffos  pocos  y  hitenos.  The  duodecimo  editions  are  the  best,  as 
a  large  heavy  book  kills  horse,  rider,  and  reader.  Books  are  a 
matter  of  taste  ;  some  men  like  Bacon,  others  prefer  Pickwick  ; 
stow  away  at  all  events  a  pocket  edition  of  the  Bible,  Shakspere, 
and  Don  Quixote  :  and  if  the  advice  of  dear  Dr.  .Johnson  be 
worth  following,  one  of  those  books  that  can  be  taken  in  the 
hand,  and  to  the  fire-side.  Martial,  a  grand  authority  on  Spanish 
hand-books,  recommended  "  such  sized  companions  on  a  long 
journey."  Quartos  and  folios,  said  he,  may  be  left  at  home  in 
the  book-case — 

"  Scrinia  da  magnis,  me  manus  una  capit." 
Here  also  keep  the  passport,  that  indescribable  nuisance  and 


CHAP.  IX.]  THE  BOTA.  97 

curse  of  continental  travel,  to  which  a  ft-ee-born  Briton  never 
can  get  reconciled,  and  is  apt  to  neglect,  whereby  he  puts  him- 
self in  the  power  of  the  worst  and  most  troublesome  people  on 
earth.  Passports  in  Spain  now  in  some  degree  supply  the  In- 
quisition, and  have  been  embittered  by  vexatious  forms  borrowed 
from  bureaucratic  France. 

Having  thus  disposed  of  these  matters  on  the  front  bow  of  his 
saddle,  to  which  we  always  added  a  bota — the  pocket-pistol  of 
Hudibras — one  word  on  this  Bota,  which  is  as  necessary  to  the 
rider  as  a  saddle  to  his  horse.  This  article,  so  Asiatic  and 
Spanish,  is  at  once  the  bottle  and  the  glass  of  the  people  of  the 
Peninsula  wlien  on  the  road,  and  is  perfectly  unlike  the  vitreous 
crockery  and  pewter  utensils  of  Great  Britain.  A  Spanish 
woman  would  as  soon  think  of  going  to  church  without  her  fan, 
or  a  Spanish  man  to  a  fair  without  his  knife,  as  a  traveller  without 
his  bota.  Ours,  the  faithful,  long-tried  comforter  of  many  a  dry 
road,  and  honoured  now  like  a  relic,  is  hung  up  a  votive  offering 
to  the  Iberian  Bacchus,  as  the  mariners  in  Hoi'ace  suspended 
their  damp  garments  to  the  deity  who  had  delivered  them  from 
the  dangers  of  water.  Its  skin,  now  shrivelled  with  age  and  with 
fruitless  longings  for  wine,  is  still  redolent  of  the  ruby  fluid, 
whether  the  generous  Valdepenas  or  the  rich  riuo  de  Toro :  and 
refreshing  to  our  nostrils  is  even  an  occasional  smell  at  its  red- 
stained  orifice.  There  the  racy  wine-perfume  lingers,  and  brings 
water  into  the  mouth,  it  may  be  into  the  eyelid.  What  a  dream 
of  Spanish  odours,  good,  bad,  and  indifferent,  is  awakened  by  its 
well-known  borracha  ! — what  recollections,  breathing  the  aroma 
of  the  balmy  south,  crowd  in;  of  aromatic  wastes,  of  leagues  of 
thyme,  whence  Flora  sends  forth  advertisements  to  her  tiny  bee- 
customer  ;  of  churches,  all  incense ;  of  the  goats  and  monks, 
long-bearded  and  odoriferous  ;  of  cities  whose  steam  of  garlic, 
ollas,  oil,  and  tobacco  rises  up  to  tlie  heavens,  mingled  with  the 
thou-sand  and  one  other  continental  sweets  which  assail  a  man's 
nose,  whether  he  lands  at  Calais  or  Cadiz !  There  hangs  our 
smelling-bottle  bota,  now  a  pleasure  of  memory  ;  it  has  had  its 
day,  and  is  never  again  to  be  filled  in  torrid,  thirsty  Spain,  nor 
emptied,  which  is  better. 

This  Bota,  from  whence  the  terms  Butt  of  sherry,  bouteille, 
and  bottle  are  derived,  is  the  most  ancient  Oriental  leathern  bottle 


98  THE  BOTA.  [chap,  ix 

alluded  to  in  Job  xxxii.  19,  "  My  belly  ready  to  burst  like  new- 
bottles  ;"  and  in  the  parable,  Matt.  ix.  17,  about  the  old  ones,  the 
force  and  point  of  which  is  entirely  lost  by  our  word  b>ttle,  which 
being-  made  of  glass,  is  not  liable  to  become  useless  by  age  like 
one  made  of  leather.     Such  a  "  bottle  of  water "  wis  the  last 
among  the  few  things  whicli  Abraham  gave  to  Hag.r,  when  he 
turned  out  the  mother  of  the  Arabians,  whose  descendaits  brought 
its  usage  into  Spain.     The  shape  is  like  that  of  a  lage  pear  or 
shot-pouch,  and  it  contains  from  two  to  five  quarts.    The  narrow 
neck  is  mounted  with  a  turned  wooden   cup,   from  which  the 
contents  are  drunk.     The  way  to  use  it  is  thus — grpp  the  neck 
with  tlie  left  hand  and  bring  the  rim  of  the  cup  tcthe  mouth, 
then  gradually  raise  the  bag  with  the  other  hand  till  he  wine,  in 
obedience  to  hydrostatic  laws,  rises  to  its  level,  and  feeps  always 
full  in  the  cup  without  trouble  to  the  mouth.     The  ;ravity  with 
which  this  is  done,  the  long,  slow,  sustained,  Sancho-ke  devotion 
of  the  thirsty  Spaniards  when  offered  a  drink  out  of  anther  man's 
bota,  is  very  edifying,  and  is  as  deep  as  the  sigh  ofdelight  and 
gratitude  with  which,  when  unable  to  imbibe  more,  he  precious 
skin  is  returned.     No  drop  of  the  divine  content  is  wasted, 
except  by  some  newly-arrived  bunuler,  who,  by  li'ing  up  the 
bottom  first,  inundates  liis  chin.     The  hole  in  the  ap  is  made 
tight  by  a  woodsn  spigot,  which  again  is  perforated  ,nd  stopped 
with  a  small  peg.     Those  who  do  not  want  to  tae  a  copious 
draught  do  not  pull  out  the  spigot,  but  merely  theittle  peg  of 
it ;  the  wine  then   flows  out  in  a  thin  thread.     ThOatalonians 
and  Aragonese  generally  drink  in  this  way  ;  they  nor  touch  tiie 
vessel  with  their  lips,  but  hold  it  up  at  a  distancabove,  and 
pilot  the  stream  into  their  mouths,  or  rather  undejaws.     It  is 
much  easier  for  those  who  have  had  no  practice  to  >ur  the  wine 
into  their   necks   than    into  their  mouths,  but  thr  drinkinsr- 
bottles  are  made  with   a  long   narrow   spout,   ai    are   called 
"  PoiTones." 

The  Bota  must  not  be  confounded  with  the  ^'Orracha  or 
Cuei'O,  the  wine-skin  of  Spain,  which  is  the  entire.'^d  answers 
the  purpose  of  the  barrel  elsewhere.  The  bota  is  le  retail  re- 
ceptacle, the  cuero  is  tlie  wholesale  one.  It  is  theenuine  pig's 
skin,  the  adoration  of  wiiich  disputes  in  the  Peniula  with  the 
cigar,  the  dollar,  and  even  llie  worship  of  the  Virgi;    Tlie  shops 

CHAP.  IX.]  THE  BOTA— WINE.  99 

of  the  makers  are  to  be  seen  in  most  Spanish  towns ;  in  them 
long  lines  of  the  unclean  animal's  blown  out  hides  are  strung  up 
like  sheep  carcases  in  our  butchers'  shambles.  The  tanned  and 
manufactured  article  preserves  the  form  of  the  pig,  feet  and  all, 
with  the  exception  of  one :  the  skin  is  turned  inside  out,  so  that 
the  hairy  coat  lines  the  interior,  which,  moreover,  is  carefully 
pitched  like  a  ship's  bottom,  to  prevent  leaking  ;  hence  the 
peculiar  flavour,  which  partakes  of  resin  and  the  hide,  which  is 
called  the  horracha,  and  is  peculiar  to  most  Spanish  wines,  sherry 
excepted,  which  being  made  by  foreigners,  is  kept  in  foreign 
casks,  as  we  shall  presently  show  when  we  touch  on  ''  good 
sherris  sack."  A  drunken  man,  who  is  rarer  in  Spain  than  in 
England,  is  called  a  horracho ;  the  term  is  not  complimentary. 
These  cueros,  when  filled,  are  suspended  in  ventas  and  elsewhere, 
and  thus  economise  cellarage,  cooperage,  and  bottling ;  and 
such  were  the  bigbellied  monsters  Avhich  Don  Quixote  attacked. 

As  the  bota  is  always  near  every  Spaniard's  mouth  who  can 
get  at  one,  all  classes  being  ever  ready,  like  Sancho,  to  give  "a 
thousand  kisses,"  not  only  to  his  own  legitimate  bota,  but  t(j  that 
of  his  neighbour,  which  is  coveted  more  than  wife  :  therefore  no 
prudent  traveller  will  ever  journey  an  inch  in  Spain  without 
getting  one,  and  when  he  has,  will  never  keep  it  empty,  espe- 
cially when  he  falls  in  with  good  wine.  Every  man's  Spanish 
attendant  will  always  find  out,  by  instinct,  where  the  best  wine 
is  to  be  had  ;  good  wine  neither  needs  bush,  herald,  nor  crier ;  in 
these  matters,  our  experience  of  them  tallies  with  their  proverb, 
"  mas  vale  vino  maldito,  que  no  agua  bendita"  "  cursed  bad 
wine  is  better  than  holy  water ;"  at  the  same  time,  in  their 
various  scale  of  comparisons,  there  is  good  wine,  better  wine, 
and  best  wine,  but  no  such  thing  as  bad  « ine ;  of  good  wine, 
the  Spaniards  are  almost  as  good  judges  as  of  good  water ;  they 
rarely  mix  them,  because  they  say  that  it  is  spoiling  two  good 
things.  Vino  3Ioro,  or  Moorish  wine,  is  by  no  means  indicative 
of  uncleanness,  or  other  heretical  imperfections  implied  generally 
by  that  epithet ;  it  simply  means,  that  it  is  pure  from  never 
having  been  baptized  with  water,  for  which  the  Asturians,  who 
keep  small  chandlers'  shops,  are  so  infamous,  that  they  are  said, 
from  inveterate   habit,  to  adulterate  even  vAater ;  aguan  el  agua. 

It  is  a  great  mistake  to  suppose,  because  Spaniards  are  seldom 

II  2 

100  MONEY.  [chap.  ix. 

seen  drunk,  and  because  when  on  a  journey  they  drink  as  much 
water  as  their  beasts,  that  they  have  any  Oriental  dislike  to  wine  ; 
the  rule  is  "  Agua  como  huey,  y  vifio  como  Rey"  "  to  drink 
water  like  an  ox,  and  wine  like  a  king."  The  extent  of  the  given 
quantity  of  wine  which  they  will  always  swallow,  rather  suggests 
that  their  habitual  temperance  may  in  some  degree  be  connected 
more  with  their  poverty  than  with  their  will.  The  way  to  many 
an  honest  breast  lies  through  the  belly  in  this  classical  land, 
where  the  tutelar  of  butlers  still  keeps  the  key  of  their  cellars 
and  hearts — aperit  praecordia  Bacchus  :  nor  is  their  Oriental 
blessing  unconnected  with  some  "  savoury  food  "  previously  ad- 
ministered. And  independently  of  the  very  obvious  reasons 
which  good  wine  does  and  ought  to  afford  for  its  own  consump- 
tion, the  irritating  nature  of  Spanish  cookery  provides  a  never- 
failing  inducement.  The  constant  use  of  the  savoury  class  of  con- 
diments and  of  pepper  is  very  heating,  "  la  pimienta  escalientaJ' 
A  salt-fish,  ham  and  sausage  diet  creates  thirst ;  a  good  rasher  of 
bacon  calls  loudly  for  a  corresponding  long  and  strong  pull  at 
the  "  bota"  "  a  torresno  de  tocino,  huen  golpe  de  vino." 

This  digression  on  botas  will  be  pardoned  by  all  who,  having 
ridden  in  Spain,  know  the  absolute  necessity  of  them.  The 
traveller  will  of  course  remember  the  advice  given  by  the  rogue 
of  Ventero  to  Don  Quixote  to  take  shirts  and  money  with  him. 
"  Put  money  in  thy  purse"  said  also  honest  lago,  for  an  empty 
one  is  a  beggarly  companion  in  the  Peninsula  as  elsewhere. 
There  is  no  getting  to  Rome  or  to  Santiago  if  the  pilgrim's  scrip 
be  scanty,  or  his  mule  lame :  Camino  de  Roma,  ni  mula  coja  ni 

Practically  it  may  be  said,  that  there  is  no  paper  money  in 
Spain.  Notes  may  be  taken  in  some  of  the  larger  cities,  but  in 
the  provinces  the  value  of  a  man  in  office's  promise  to  pay  on 
paper,  is  not  considered  by  the  shrewd  natives  to  be  actually 
equal  to  cash ;  while  they  will  readily  give  these  notes  to 
foreigners,  they  prefer  for  their  own  use  the  old-fashioned  repre- 
sentatives of  wealth,  gold  and  silver,  towards  the  smallest  fraction 
of  which  they  have  the  largest  possible  veneration.  Accounts  are 
usually  kept  in  reales  de  vellon  of  royal  bullion  ;  and  these  are 
subdivided  into  maravedis,  the  ancient  coin  of  the  Peninsula : 
there  are  minor  fractions  even  of  farthings,  consisting  in  material 

cuAF.  IX.]  MONEY,  101 

of  infinitesimal  bits  of  any  metals,  melted  church  bells,  old  can- 
non, &c.,  with  names  and  values  unknown  in  our  happy  land, 
where  not  much  is  to  be  got  for  a  mite ;  in  Spain,  where  cheap- 
ness of  earth-produce  is  commensurate  with  poverty,  anything, 
even  to  an  old  button,  goes  for  a  maraiedi,  and  we  have  found 
that  in  changing  a  dollar  by  way  of  experiment  into  small  coppere 
in  the  market  at  Seville,  among  the  multitudinous  specimens  of 
Spanish  mints  of  all  periods,  Moorish  and  even  Roman  coins 
were  to  be  met  with,  and  still  current. 

The  dollar,  or  Duro,  of  Spain  is  well  known  all  over  the 
world,  being  the  form  under  which  silver  has  been  generally 
exported  from  the  Spanish  colonies  of  South  America.  It  is  the 
Italian  "  Colonato,"  so  called  because  the  arms  of  Spain  are 
supported  between  tlie  two  pillars  of  Hercules.  The  coinage  is 
slovenly :  it  is  the  weight  of  the  metal,  not  the  form,  which  is 
looked  to  by  the  Spaniard,  who,  like  the  Turk,  is  not  so  clever 
a  workman  or  mechanist  as  devout  worshipper  of  bullion.  Fer- 
dinand VII.  continued  for  a  long  while  to  strike  money  with 
his  father's  head,  having  only  had  the  lettering  altered :  thus 
early  Trajans  exhibit  the  head  of  Nero.  When  the  Cortes  en- 
tered Madrid  after  trss  Duke's  vicrory  at  Salamanca,  they 
patriotically  prohibited  the  currency  of  all  coins  bearing  the 
head  of  the  intrusive  Joseph  ;  yet  his  dollars  being  cliietly  made 
out  of  stolen  church  plate,  gilt  and  ungilt,  were,  although  those 
of  an  usurper,  intrinsically  worth  more  than  the  legitimate  duro  ; 
this  was  a  too  severe  test  for  the  loyalty  of  those  whose  real  king 
and  god  is  cash.  Such  a  decree  was  wortliy  of  senators  w  ho  were 
busier  employed  in  expelling  French  tropes  from  their  dictionary 
than  French  troops  from  their  country.  The  wiser  Chinese 
take  Ferdinand's  and  Joseph's  dollars  alike,  calling  them  both 
"  devil's  head"  money.  These  bad  prejudices  against  good  coin 
have  now  given  way  to  the  march  of  intellect ;  nay,  the  five- 
franc  piece  with  Louis-Philippe's  clever  head  on  it  bids  fair  to 
oust  the  pillared  Duro.  The  silver  of  the  mines  of  Murcia  is 
exported  to  France,  where  it  is  coined,  and  sent  back  in  the 
manufactured  shape.  France  thus  gains  a  handsome  per  centage, 
and  habituates  the  people  to  her  image  of  power,  whicli  comes 
recommended  to  them  in  the  most  acceptable  likeness  of  current 

UNlVE"r?5T-:y  ot^  ^ 


102  GOLD  COINAGE.  [chap,  tx. 

Ill  Spain  cash,  ambrosial  cash,  rules  the  court,  the  camp,  the 
grove ;  hence  the  extraordinary  credit  of  three  millions  recently- 
required  for  tlie  secret  service  expenses  of  the  Tuileries,  and 
official  enthusiasm  and  unanimity  secured  thereby  in  the  Mont- 
pensier  purchase.  The  whole  decalogue  is  condensed  at  Madrid 
into  one  commandment.  Love  God  as  represented  on  earth  not  by 
his  vicar  the  Pope,  but  by  his  lord-lieutenant,  Don  Ducat. 

"  El  primero  es  amar  Don  Dinero, 
Dios  es  omnipotente,  Don  Dinero  as  su  lugarteniente." 

Thus  grandees  and  men  in  Spanish  offices,  both  governmental  and 
printing  ones,  have  preferred  the  other  day  five-franc  pieces  to 
the  ribbons  of  the  Legion  of  honor ;  nor,  considering  the  swindlers 
on  whom  this  badge  of  Austerlitz  has  been  prostituted,  were 
these  worthy  Castilians  much  out  in  their  calculations,  if  there 
be  any  truth  in  the  catechism  of  FalstaiF. 

Tlie  gold  coinage  is  magnificent,  and  worthy  of  the  country 
and  period  from  which  Europe  was  supplied  with   the  precious 
metals.     The  largest  piece,  the  ounce,  "  07iza,"  is  worth  sixteen 
dollars,  or  about  3/.  Qs. ;  and  while  it  puts   to  shame  the  dimi- 
nutive Napoleons  of  France  and  sovereigns  of  England,  tells  the 
tale  of  Spain's  former  wealth,   and  contrasts  strangely  with  her 
present  poverty  and  scarcity  of  specie  :  these  large  coins  have 
however  been  so  sweated,  not  by  the  sun,  but  by  Jews,  foreio-n 
and  domestic,  so  clipped  worse  than  Spanish  mules  or  French 
poodles,  that  they  seldom  retain  their  proper  weight  and  value. 
They  are  accordingly  looked  upon   every  where  with  suspicion  ; 
a  shopkeeper,  in  a  big  town,  brings  out  his  scales  like  Shylock, 
while  in  a  village  shrugs,  ajos,  and  negative  expressions  are  your 
change  ;  nor,  even  if  the  natives  are  satisfied  tiiat  they  are  not 
light,  can  sixteen  dollars  be  often  met  with,  nor  do  those  who 
have  so  much   ready  money  by  them   ever  wish  tliat   the  fact 
should  be  generally  known.     Spaniards,  like  the  Orientals,  have 
a  dread  of  being  supposed  to  have  money  in  their  possession  ;  it 
exposes  them  to  be  plundered  by  robbers  of  all  kinds,  professional 
or  le^al ;  by  the  "  alcalde"  or  village  authority,  and  the  "  escri- 
bano"    the    attorney,    to    say   nothing   of  Seiior   Mon's   tax- 
gatherer  ;   for  the  quota  of  contributions,   many  of  which  are 
apportioned  among  the  inhabitants  themselves  of  each  district, 


falls  heaviest  on  those  who  have,  or  are  supposed  to  have,  the 
most  ready  money. 

The  lower  classes  of  Spaniards,  like  the  Orientals,  are  gene- 
rally avaricious.  They  see  that  wealth  is  safety  and  power, 
where  everything  is  venal ;  the  feeling  of  insecurity  makes  them 
eager  to  invest  what  they  have  in  a  small  and  easily  concealed 
bulk,  "  en  lo  que  no  hahla"  "  in  that  which  does  not  tell  tales." 
Consequently,  and  in  self-defence,  they  are  much  addicted  to 
hoarding.  The  idea  of  finding  hidden  treasures,  whicli  prevails 
in  Spain  as  in  the  East,  is  based  on  some  grounds  ;  for  in  every 
country  which  has  been  much  exposed  to  foreign  invasions,  civil 
wars,  and  domestic  misrule,  where  tliere  were  no  safe  modes  of 
investment,  in  moments  of  danger  property  was  converted  into 
gold  or  jewels  and  concealed  with  singular  ingenuity.  The  mis- 
trust which  Spaniards  entertain  of  each  other  often  extends,  when 
cash  is  in  the  case,  even  to  the  nearest  relations,  to  wife  and 
children.  Many  a  treasure  is  thus  lost  from  the  accidental  death 
of  the  hider,  who,  dying  without  a  sign,  carries  his  secret  to  the 
grave,  adding  thereby  to  the  sincere  grief  of  his  widow  and  heir. 
One  of  the  old  vulgar  superstitions  in  Spain  is  an  idea  that  those 
who  were  born  on  a  Good  Friday,  the  day  of  mourning,  were 
gifted  with  a  power  of  seeing  into  the  earth  and  of  discovering 
hidden  treasures.  One  place  of  concealment  has  alwa3's  been 
under  the  bodies  in  graves  ;  the  hiders  have  trusted  to  the  dead 
to  defend  what  the  quick  could  not :  tiiis  accounts  for  the  uni- 
versal desecration  of  tombs  and  cliurcliyards  during  Bonaparte's 
invasion.  The  Gauls  growled  like  gowls  amid  the  churchyards  ; 
they  despoiled  the  mouldering  corpses  of  tlie  last  pledge  left  by 
weeping  aflfection  ;  or,  as  Burke  observed  of  their  domestic  doings, 
they  unplumbed  the  dead  to  make  missiles  of  destruction  against 
the  living.  These  hordes,  in  their  hurried  flight  before  the 
advancing  Duke,  also  hid  mucli  of  their  ill-gotten  gains,  which 
to  this  day  are  hunted  after.  Who  has  forgotten  Borrow's  gra- 
phic picture  of  the  treasure-seeking  ]\Iol  ?  At  this  very  moment 
the  autliorities  of  San  Sebastian  are  narrowly  superintending  the 
diggings  of  an  old  Frenchwoman,  to  whom  some  dying  thief  at 
home  has  revealed  the  secret  of  a  buried  kettle  full  of  gold 

104  CONCEALMENT  OF  CASH.  [chap.  ix. 

Having  provided  the  "  Spanish,"  those  metallic  sinevi^s  of  war, 
which  also  make  the  mare  go  in  peace,  a  prudent  master,  if  he 
intends  to  be  really  the  master,  will  hold  the  purse  himself,  and, 
moreover,  will  keep  a  sharp  eye  on  it,  for  the  jingle  of  coin 
dispels  even  a  Spanish  siesta,  and  causes  many  a  sleepless  day  to 
every  listener,  from  the  beggar  to  the  queen  mother. 



Spanish  Servants:  their  Character — Travelling  Groom,  Cook,  and  Valet. 

Don  Quixote's  first  thought,  after  having  determined  to  ride 
forth  into  Spain,  was  to  get  a  horse ;  his  second  was  to  secure 
a  squire  ;  and  as  the  narrative  of  his  journey  is  still  an  excellent 
guide-book  for  modern  travellers,  his  example  is  not  to  be 
slighted.  A  good  Sancho  Panza  will  on  the  whole  be  found  to 
be  a  more  constant  comfort  to  a  knight-errant  than  even  a  Dul- 
cinea.  To  secure  a  really  good  servant  is  of  the  utmost  con- 
sequence to  all  who  make  out-of-the-way  excursions  in  the 
Peninsula ;  for,  as  in  the  East,  he  becomes  often  not  only  cook, 
but  interpreter  and  companion  to  his  master.  It  is  therefore  of 
great  importance  to  get  a  person  with  whom  a  man  can  ramble 
over  these  wild  scenes.  The  so  doing  ends,  on  the  part  of  the 
attendant,  in  an  almost  canine  friendship  ;  and  the  Spaniard, 
when  the  tour  is  done,  is  broken-hearted,  and  ready  to  leave  his 
home,  horse,  ass,  and  wife,  to  follow  his  master,  like  a  dog,  to 
the  world's-end.  Nine  times  out  of  ten  it  is  the  master's  fault 
if  he  has  bad  servants :  tel  maltre  tel  valet.  Al  amo  imprudente, 
el  mozo  neyligente.  He  must  begin  at  once,  and  exact  the  per- 
formance of  their  duty ;  the  only  way  to  get  them  to  do  any- 
thing is,  as  the  Duke  said,  to  "  frighten  them,"  to  "  take  a 
decided  line."  It  is  very  difficult  to  make  them  see  the  im- 
portance of  detail  and  of  doing  exactly  what  they  are  told,  which 
they  will  always  endeavour  to  shirk  when  they  can ;  their  task 
must  be  clearly  pointed  out  to  them  at  starting,  and  the  earliest 
and  smallest  infractions,  either  in  commission  or  omission,  at 
once  and  seriously  noticed,  the  moral  victory  is  soon  gained. 
The  example  of  the  masters,  if  they  be  active  and  orderly,  is  the 
best  lesson  to  servants  ;  mucho  sabe  el  rato,  pero  mas  el  gato  ; 
the  rats  are  well  enough,  but  the  cats  are  better.  Acliilles,  Pa- 
troclus,  and  the  Homeric  heroes,  were  their  own  cooks ;  and 

106  CHARACTER  OP  SPANISH  SERVANTS.         [chap.  x. 

many  a  man  who,  like  Lord  Blayney,  may  not  be  a  hero,  will  be 
none  the  worse  for  following  the  epical  example,  in  a  Spanish 
venta:  at  all  events  a  good  servant,  who  is  up  to  his  work,  and 
will  work,  is  indeed  a  jewel ;  and  on  these,  as  on  other  occasions, 
he  deserves  to  be  well  treated.  Those  who  make  themselves 
honey  are  eaten  by  flies — qiden  se  hace  miel,  le  comen  las 
moscas ;  while  no  rat  ever  ventures  to  jest  with  the  cat's  son ; 
con  Itijo  cle  gciio,  no  se  burlan  los  ratones.  The  great  thing  is 
to  make  them  get  up  early,  and  learn  the  value  of  time,  which 
the  groom  cannot  tie  with  his  halter,  tiempo  y  hora,  no  se  ata 
con  saga :  while  a  cook  who  oversleeps  himself  not  only  misses 
his  mass,  but  his  meat,  quien  se  levanta  tarde,  ni  oye  misa,  ni 
compra  came.  If  (which  is  soon  found  out)  the  servants  seem 
not  likely  to  answer,  the  sooner  tliey  are  changed  the  better  ;  it 
is  loss  of  time  and  soap,  and  he  who  is  good  for  nothing  in  his 
own  villaije  will  not  be  worth  more  either  in  Seville  or  else- 
where,  so  says  the  proverb. 

The  principal  defects  of  Spanish  servants  and  of  the  lower 
classes  of  Spaniards  are  much  tlie  same,  and  faults  of  race.  As 
a  mass,  they  are  apt  to  indulge  in  habits  of  procrastination,  waste, 
improvidence,  and  untidiness.  They  are  unmechanioal  and  ob- 
stinate, easily  beaten  by  difficulties,  which  their  first  feeling  is  to 
raise,  and  their  next  to  succumb  to ;  they  give  the  thing  up  at 
once.  They  have  no  idea  indeed  of  grappling  with  anything 
that  requires  much  trouble,  or  of  doing  anything  as  it  ought  to 
be  done,  or  even  of  doing  the  same  thing  in  the  same  way — ac- 
cident and  the  impulse  of  the  moment  set  them  going.  They 
are  very  unniechanical,  obstinate,  and  prejudiced  ;  ignorant  of 
their  own  ignorance  and  incurious  as  Orientals ;  partly  from 
pride,  self-opinion,  and  idleness,  they  seldom  will  ask  questions 
for  information  from  others,  which  implies  an  inferiority  of 
knowledge,  and  still  more  seldom  will  take  an  answer,  unless  it 
be  such  a  one  as  they  desire  ;  their  own  wishes,  opinions,  and 
wants  are  their  guides,  and  self  the  centre  of  their  gravity,  not 
those  of  their  employers.  As  a  Spaniard's  yes,  when  you  beg  a 
favour,  generally  means  no,  so  they  cannot  or  will  not  under- 
stand that  your  no  is  really  a  negative  when  they  come  petition- 
ing to  be  idle  ;  at  the  same  time  a  great  change  for  the  better 
comes  over  them  when  they  are  taken  out  of  the  city  on  a 


rambling  tour.  The  nomad  life  excites  them  into  active  service- 
able fellows ;  in  fact  the  uncertain  harum-scarum  nomad  ex- 
istence is  exactly  what  suits  these  descendants  of  the  Arab  ;  they 
cannot  bear  the  steady  sustained  routine  of  a  well-managed 
household ;  they  abhor  confinement ;  hence  the  difficulty  of 
getting  Spaniards  to  garrison  fortresses  or  to  man  ships  of  war, 
from  whence  there  is  no  escape. 

As  for  what  we  call  a  well-appointed  servants'  hall,  the  case  is 
hopeless  in  Spanish  field  or  city,  and  is  equally  so  whether  the 
life  be  above  or  below  stairs.  In  the  house  of  the  middle  or 
highest  classes  this  is  particularly  shown  in  everything  that 
regards  gastronomies,  which  are  the  tests  and  touchstones  of 
good  service.  In  truth,  the  Spaniard,  accustomed  to  his  own 
desultory,  free  and -easy,  impromptu,  scrambling  style  of  dining, 
is  constrained  by  the  order  and  discipline,  the  pomp  and  cere- 
mony, and  serious  importance  of  a  well-regulated  dinner,  and 
their  observance  of  forms  extends  only  to  persons,  not  to  things : 
even  the  grandee  has  only  a  thin  Eluropean  polish  spread  over 
his  Gotho-Bedouin  dining  table  ;  he  lives  and  eats  surrounded 
by  an  humble  clique,  in  his  huge  ill-furnished  barrack-house, 
without  any  elegance,  luxury,  or  even  comfort,  according  to 
sound  trans-pyrenean  notions  :  few  indeed  are  the  kitchens 
which  possess  a  cordon  hieu,  and  fewer  are  the  masters  who 
really  like  an  orthodox  entree,  one  unpolluted  with  the  heresies 
of  garlic  and  red  pepper :  again,  whenever  their  cookery  at- 
tempts to  be  foreign,  as  in  their  other  imitations,  it  ends  in  being 
a  flavourless  copy  ;  but  few  things  are  ever  done  in  Spain  in 
real  style,  which  implies  forethought  and  expense  ;  everything 
is  a  make-shift ;  the  noble  master  reposes  his  affairs  on  an  unjust 
steward,  and  dozes  away  life  on  this  bed  of  roses,  somnolescent 
over  business  and  awake  only  to  intrigue  ;  his  numerous  ill-con- 
ditioned, ill-appointed  servants  have  no  idea  of  discipline  or 
subordination  ;  you  never  can  calculate  on  their  laying  even  the 
table-cloth,  as  they  prefer  idling  in  the  church  or  market  to 
doing  their  duty,  and  would  rather  starve,  dance,  and  sleep  out 
of  place  and  independently,  than  feast  and  earn  their  wages  by 
fair  work  ;  nor  has  the  employer  any  redress,  for  if  he  dismisses 
them  he  will  only  get  just  such  another  set,  or  even  worse. 

In  our  own  Spanish  household,  the  instant  dinner  and   siesta 

108  CHARACTER  OF  SPANISH  SERVANTS.         [chai'.  x, 

M'ere  over,  the  cook  with  his  kitchen-man,  the  valet  with  the 
footman  invariably  stripped  off"  their  working  apparel — liveries 
are  almost  unheard  of — donned  their  comical  velvet  embroidered 
hats,  their  sky-bine  waistcoats,  and  scarlet  sashes,  and  were  off 
with  a  guitar  to  some  scene  of  song  and  love-making,  leaving 
their  master  alone  in  his  glory  to  moralize  on  the  uncertainty  of 
human  concerns  and  the  faithlessness  of  mankind. 

What  can't  be  cured  must  be  endured.  To  resume,  therefore, 
the  character  of  these  Spanish  servants  ;  they  are  very  loquacious, 
and  highly  credulous,  as  often  is  the  case  with  those  given  to 
romancing,  which  they,  and  especially  the  Andalucians,  are  to 
a  large  degree  ;  and,  in  fact,  it  is  the  only  remaining  romance 
in  Spain,  as  far  as  the  natives  are  concerned.  As  they  have  an 
especial  good  opinion  of  themselves,  they  are  touchy,  sensitive, 
jealous,  and  thin-skinned,  and  easily  affronted  whenever  their 
imperfections  are  pointed  out ;  their  disposition  is  very  sanguine 
and  inflannuable  ;  they  are  always  hoping  that  what  they  eagerly 
desire  will  come  to  pass  without  any  great  exertion  on  their 
parts ;  they  love  to  stand  still  with  their  arms  folded,  while 
other  men  put  their  shoulders  to  the  wheel.  Their  lively  ima- 
gination is  very  apt  to  carry  them  away  into  extremes  for  good 
or  evil,  when  they  act  on  the  moment  like  children,  and  having 
gratifieii  the  humour  of  the  impulse  relapse  into  their  ordinary 
tranquillity,  which  is  that  of  a  slumbering  volcano.  On  the 
other  hand,  they  are  full  of  excellent  and  redeeming  good  qua- 
lities ;  they  are  free  from  caprice,  are  hardy,  patient,  cheerful, 
good-humoured,  sharp-witted,  and  intelligent :  they  are  honest, 
faithful,  and  trustworthy;  sober,  and  unaddicted  to  mean,  vulgar 
vices ;  they  have  a  bold,  manly  bearing,  and  will  follow  well 
wherever  they  are  well  led,  being  the  raw  material  of  as  good 
soldiers  as  are  in  the  world ;  they  are  loyal  and  religious  at 
heart,  and  full  of  natural  tact,  mother-wit,  and  innate  good 
manners.  In  general,  a  firm,  quiet,  courteous,  and  somewhat 
reserved  manner  is  the  most  effective.  Whenever  duties  are  to 
be  performed,  let  them  see  that  you  are  not  to  be  trifled  with. 
The  coolness  of  a  determined  Englishman's  manner,  when  in 
earnest,  is  what  few  foreigners  can  withstand.  Grimace  and 
gesticulation,  sound  and  fury,  bluster,  petulance,  and  imperti- 
nence fume  and  fret  in  vain  against  it,  as  the  sprays  and  foam  of 


the  "French  lake"  do  against   the  unmoved   and  immoveable 
rock  of  Gibraltar.     An  Englishman,  without  being  over-familiar, 
may  venture  on  a  far  greater  degree  of  unbending  in  his  inter- 
course with  his  Spanish  dependants  than  he  can  dare  to  do  with 
those  he  has  in  England.     It  is  the  custom  of  the  country  ;  they 
are  used  to  it,  and  their  heads  are  not  turned  by  it,  nor  do  they 
ever  forget  their  relative  positions.     The  Spaniards  treat  their 
servants  very  much  like  the  ancient  Eomans  or  the    modern 
Moors ;  they  are  more  their  vernce,  their  domestic  slaves  :  it  is 
the  absolute  authority  of  the  father  combined  with  the  kindness. 
Servants  do  not  often  change  their  masters  in  Spain :  their  rela- 
tion and  duties  are  so  clearly  defined,  that  the  latter  runs  no  risk 
of  compromising  himself  or  his  dignity  by  his  familiarity,  which 
can  be  laid  down  or  taken  up  at  his  own  pleasure ;  whereas  the 
scorn,   contempt,  and  distance  with  which    the  said  courteous 
Don  would  treat  a  roturier  who  presumed  to  be  intimate,  baffle 
description.     In  England  no  man  dares  to  be  intimate  with  his 
footman  ;  for   supposing   even  such   absurd   fancy   entered   his 
brain,  his  footman  is  his  equal  in  the  eye  of  man-made  law,  God 
having  created  them  utterly  unequal  in  all  his  gifts,  whether  of 
rank,   wealth,    form,    or  intellect.      Conventional   barriers   ac- 
cordingly must  be  erected  in  self-defence :  and  social  barriers 
are  more  difficult  to  be  passed  than  walls  of  brass,  more  impos- 
sible to  be  repealed  than  the  whole  statutes  at  large.     No  master 
in  Spain,  and  still  less  a  foreigner,  should  ever  descend  to  per- 
sonal abuse,  sneers,  or  violence.     A  blow  is  never  to  be  washed 
out  except  in  blood,  and   Spanish  revenge  descends  to  the  third 
and  fourth  generation  ;  and  whatever  these  backward  Spaniards 
have  to  learn  from  foreigners,  it  is  not  the  duty  of  revenge,  nor 
how  to  perform  it.     There  should  be  no  threatenings  in  vain, 
but  whenever  the  opportunity  occurs  for  punishment,  let  it  be 
done  quietly  and  effectively,  and  the  fault  once  punished  should 
not  be  needlessly  ripped  up  again  ;  Spaniards  are  sufficiently  un- 
forgiving, and  hoarders-up  of  unrevenged  grievances  require  to 
be  reminded.     A  kind  and  uniform  behaviour,  a  showing  con- 
sideration to  them,  in  a  manner  which  implies  that  you  are  ac- 
customed to  it,  and  expect  it  to  be  shown  to  you,  keeps  most 
things  in  their  right  places.     Temper  and  patience  are  the  great 
requisites  in  the  master,  especially  when  he  speaks  the  language 


imperfectly.  He  must  not  tliink  Spaniards  stupid  because  they 
cannot  guess  the  meaning  of  his  unknown  tongue.  Nothing 
again  is  g'ained  by  fidgeting  and  overdoing,  and  however  early 
you  may  get  up,  daybreak  will  not  take  place  the  sooner  :  no  por 
mucho  madniffar,  amanece  mas  temprano.  Let  well  alone  :  be 
not  zealous  overmuch:  be  occasionally  both  blind  and  deaf: 
shut  the  door,  and  the  devil  passes  by  :  keep  honey  in  mouth 
and  an  eye  to  your  cash  :  miel  en  boca  y  guurda  la  bolsa.  Still 
how  much  less  expenditure  is  necessary  in  Spain  than  in  per- 
forming the  commonest  excursion  in  England  ! — and  yet  many 
who  submit  to  their  own  countrymen's  extortions  are  furious  at 
what  they  imagine  is  an  especial  cheating  of  them,  quasi  English- 
men, abroad :  this  outrageous  economy,  with  which  some  are 
afflicted,  is  penny  wise  and  pound  foolish :  pay,  pay  therefore 
with  both  hands.  The  traveller  must  remember  that  he  gains 
caste,  gets  brevet  rank  in  Spain —  that  he  is  taken  for  a  grandee 
incog.,  and  ranks  with  their  nobility  ;  he  must  pay  for  these 
luxuries  :  how  small  after  all  will  be  the  additional  per  centage 
on  his  general  expenditure,  and  how  well  bestowed  is  the  excess, 
in  keeping  the  temper  good,  and  the  capability  of  enjoying  un- 
ruffled a  tour,  which  only  is  performed  once  in  a  life !  No 
wise  man  who  goes  into  Spain  for  amusement  will  plunge  into 
this  guerrilla,  this  constant  petty  warfare,  about  sixpences.  Let 
the  traveller  be  true  to  himself  ;  hold  his  tongue  ;  avoid  bad 
company,  quien  hace  su  cama  con  perros,  se  levanta  con  pulgas, 
those  who  sleep  with  dogs  get  up  with  fleas  ;  and  make  room  for 
bulls  and  fools,  al  loco  y  toro  da  le  corro,  and  he  may  see  Spain 
agreeably,  and,  as  Catullus  said  to  Veranius,  who  made  the  tour 
many  centuries  ago,  may  on  his  return  amuse  his  friends  and 
"  old  mother :" — 

"  Visam  te  incolumem,  audiamqne  Iberum 
Narrantem  loca,  facta,  nationes, 
Sicut  tuus  est  mos." 

which  may  be  thus  Englished  : — 

May  you  come  back  safe,  and  tell 
Of  Spanish  men,  their  things  and  places, 
Of  Spanish  ladies'  eyes  and  faces, 
In  your  own  way,  and  so  well. 

Two  masters  should  take  two  servants,  and  both  should  be 
Spaniards  :  all  others,  unless  they  speak  the  language  perfectly. 


are  nuisances.  A  Gallegan  or  Asturian  makes  the  best  groom, 
an  Andaluz  the  best  cook  and  personal  attendant.  Sometimes  a 
person  may  be  picked  up  who  has  some  knowledge  of  languages, 
and  who  is  accustomed  to  accompany  strangers  through  Spain  as 
a  sort  of  courier.  These  accomplishments  are  very  rare,  and  the 
moral  qualities  of  the  possessor  often  diminish  in  proportion  as 
his  intellect  has  marched  ;  he  has  learnt  more  foreign  tricks  than 
words,  and  sea-port  towns  are  not  the  best  schools  for  honesty. 
Of  these  nondescripts  the  Hispano- Anglo,  who  generally  has  de- 
serted from  Gibraltar,  is  the  best,  because  he  will  work,  hold  his 
tongue,  and  fight ;  a  monkey  would  be  a  less  inconvenience  than 
a  chattering  Ibero-Gallo ;  one  who  has  forgotten  his  national 
accomplishments — cooking  and  hairdressing,  and  learnt  very  few 
Spanisli  things,  such  as  good  temper  and  endurance.  Whichever 
of  the  two  is  the  sharpest  should  lead  the  way,  and  leave  the  other 
to  bring  up  the  rear.  They  should  be  mounted  on  good  mules, 
and  be  provided  with  large  panniers.  One  should  act  as  the  cook 
and  valet,  the  other  as  the  groom  of  the  pArty  ;  and  the  utensils 
peculiar  to  each  department  should  be  carried  by  each  professor. 
Where  only  one  servant  is  employed,  one  side  of  the  pannier 
should  be  dedicated  to  the  commissariat,  and  the  other  to  the 
luggage ;  in  that  case  the  master  should  have  a  flyijig  port- 
manteau, which  should  be  sent  by  means  of  cosarios,  and  precede 
him  from  great  town  to  great  town,  as  a  magazine,  wardrobe,  or 
geneial  supply  to  fall  back  on.  The  servants  should  each  have 
their  own  saddle-bag  and  leathern  bottle,  which,  since  the  days 
of  Sancho  Panza,  are  part  and  parcel  of  a  faithful  squire,  and 
w^hen  all  are  carried  on  an  ass  are  quite  patriarchal.  '■'■  Iha 
Sancho  Panza  sobre  su  jumento,  como  un  patriarca  con  sus 
alforjas  y  hota." 

The  servants  will  each  in  their  line  look  after  their  own  affairs  ; 
the  groom  will  take  witli  him  the  things  of  the  stable,  and  a  small 
provision  of  corn,  in  order  that  a  feed  may  never  be  wanting,  on 
an  unexpected  emergency ;  he  will  always  ascertain  beforehand 
through  what  sort  of  a  country  each  day's  journey  is  to  be  niade, 
and  make  preparations  accordingly.  The  valet  will  view  his 
masters  in  the  same  light  as  the  groom  does  his  beasts ;  and  he 
will  purvey  and  keep  in  readiness  all  tiiat  appertains  to  their 
comfort,  always  remembering  a  raoskito  net — we  shall  presently 

112  WHAT  TO  TAKE  ON  A  JOURNEY.  [chap.  x. 

say  a  word  on  the  fly-plague  of  the  Peninsula — with  nails  to 
knock  into  the  walls  to  hang  it  up  by,  not  forgetting  a  hammer 
and  gimlet ;  common  articles  enough,  but  which  are  never  to  be 
got  at  the  moment  and  place  where  they  ai-e  the  most  wanted. 
He  will  also  carry  a  small  canteen,  the  smaller  and  more  ordi- 
nary the  better,  as  anything  out  of  the  common  way  attracts 
attention,  and  suggests,  first,  the  coveting  other  men's  good^,  and 
so  on  to  assaults,  batteries,  robberies,  and  otiier  inconveniences, 
which  have  been  exploded  on  our  roads  ;  although  F.  Moryson 
took  care  to  caution  our  ancestors  "  to  be  warie  on  this  head, 
since  theeves  have  their  spies  commonly  in  all  innes,  to  enquire 
into  the  condition  of  travellers."  The  manufactures  of  Spain 
are  so  rude  and  valueless  that  what  appears  to  us  to  be  the  most 
ordinary  appears  to  them  to  be  the  most  excellent,  as  they  have 
never  seen  anytliing  so  good.  The  lower  orders,  who  eat  with 
their  fingers,  think  everything  is  gold  which  glitters,  todo  es  oro 
lo  que  reluce ;  as,  after  all,  it  is  what  is  on  the  plate  that  is  the 
rub,  let  no  wise  man  have  such  smart  forks  and  knives  as  to  tempt 
cut-throats  to  turn  them  to  unnatural  purposes.  However,  avoid 
all  superfluous  luggage,  especially  prejudices  and  foregone  con- 
clusions, for  "  6'/^  largo  camino  pajd  pesa,"  a  straw  is  heavy  on  a 
long  journey,  and  the  last  feather  breaks  tlie  horse's  back.  A 
ytore  of  cigars,  however,  must  always  be  excepted  ;  take  plenty  and 
give  them  freely ;  it  always  opens  a  conversation  well  with  a 
Spaniard,  to  offer  him  one  of  these  little  delicate  marks  of  atten- 
tion. Good  snuff"  is  acceptable  to  the  curates  and  to  monks 
(though  there  are  none  just  now).  English  needles,  thread,  and 
pairs  of  scissars  take  no  room,  and  are  all  keys  to  the  good  graces 
of  tlie  fair  sex.  There  is  a  charm  about  a  present,  backshish,  in 
most  European  as  well  as  Oriental  countries,  and  still  more  if  it 
is  given  with  tact,  and  at  the  proper  time ;  Spaniards,  if  unable 
to  make  any  equivalent  return,  will  always  try  to  repay  by  civi- 
lities and  attentions. 

Every  one  must  determine  for  himself  whether  he  prefers  the 
assistance  of  this  servant  in  the  kitchen  or  at  the  toilet ;  since  it 
is  not  easy  for  mortal  man  to  dress  a  master  and  a  dinner,  and 
both  well  at  the  same  time,  let  alone  two  masters.  A  cook  who 
runs  after  two  hares  at  once  catches  neither.  No  prudent  tra- 
veller on  these,  or  on  any  occasions,  should  let  another  do  for  him 


what  he  can  do  for  himself,  and  a  man  who  waits  upon  himself 
IS  sure  to  be  well  waited  on.  If,  however,  a  valet  be  absolutely 
necessary,  the  groom  clearly  is  best  left  in  his  own  chamber,  the 
stable  ;  he  will  have  enough  to  do  to  curry  and  valet  his  four 
animals,  which  he  knows  to  be  good  for  their  health,  though  he 
never  scrapes  off  the  cutaneous  stucco  by  which  his  own  illote 
carcass  is  Roman  cemented.  From  long  experience  we  have 
found  that  if  the  rider  will  get  into  the  habit  of  carrying  all  the 
things  requisite  for  his  own  dressing  in  a  small  separate  bag,  and 
employ  the  hour  while  the  cook  is  getting  the  supper  under 
weigh,  it  is  wonderful  how  comfortably  he  will  proceed  to  his 

The  cook  should  take  with  him  a  stewing  pan,  and  a  pot  oi 
kettle  for  boiling  water;  he  need  not  lumber  himself  with  much 
batterie  de  cuisine  ;  it  is  not  much  needed  in  the  imperfect  gas- 
tronomy of  the  Peninsula,  where  men  eat  like  the  beasts  which 
perish  ;  all  sort  of  artillery  is  rather  rare  in  Spanish  kitchen  or 
fortress ;  an  hidalgo  would  as  soon  think  of  having  a  voltaic 
battery  in  his  sitting-room  as  a  copper  one  in  his  cuisine ;  most 
classes  are  equally  satisfied  with  the  Oriental  earthenware  ollas, 
pucheros,  or  pipkins,  which  are  everywhere  to  be  found,  and 
have  some  peculiar  sympathy  with  the  Spanish  cuisine,  since  a 
stew — be  it  even  of  a  cat — never  eats  so  well  when  made  in  a 
metal  vessel ;  the  great  thing  is  to  bring  the  raw  materials, — first 
catch  your  hare.  Tliose  who  have  meat  and  money  will  always 
get  a  neighbour  to  lend  them  a  pot.  A  renta  is  a  place  where 
the  rich  are  sent  empiy  away,  and  where  the  poor  hungry  are  not 
filled  ;  the  whole  duty  of  the  man-cook,  therefore,  is  to  be  always 
thinking  of  his  commissariat ;  he  need  not  trouble  liimself  about 
his  master's  appetite,  that  will  seldom  fail, — nay,  often  be  a  mis- 
fortune ;  a  good  appetite  is  not  a  good  'per  se*  for  it,  even  when 
the  best,  becomes  a  bore  when  there  is  nothing  to  eat ;  his  capucho 
or  mule  hamper  must  be  his  travelling  larder,  cellar,  and  store- 
room ;  he  will  victual  himself  according  to  the  route,  and  the 
distances  from  one  great  town  to  another,  and  always  take  care  to 
start  with  a  good  provision  :  indeed  to  attend  to  the  commissariat 

*  When  George  IV.  once  complained  that  he  had  lost  his  royal  appetite, 
"What  a  scrape,  sir,  a  pour  man  would  be  in  if  he/o;//»/ it !"  said  his 
Rochester  companion. 

114  SPANISH  BREAD.  [chap.  x. 

is,  it  cannot  be  too  often  repeated,  the  whoLe  duty  of  a  man  cook 
in  hungry  Spain,  where  food  has  ever  been  the  difficulty  ;  a  little 
foresight  gives  small  trouble  and  ensures  great  comfort,  while 
perils  by  sea  and  perils  by  land  are  doubled  when  the  stomach  is 
empty,  whereas,  as  Sancho  Panza  wisely  told  his  ass,  all  sorrows 
are  alleviated  by  eating  bread :  todos  los  duelos,  con  pan  son 
huenos,  and  the  shrewd  squire,  who  seldom  is  wrong,  was  right  both 
in  the  matter  of  bread  and  the  moral :  the  former  is  admirable. 
The  central  table-lands  of  Spain  are  perhaps  the  finest  wheat- 
growing  districts  in  the  world  ;  however  rude  and  imperfect  the 
cultivation — for  the  peasant  does  but  scratch  the  earth,  and 
seldom  manures — the  life-conferring  sun  comes  to  his  assistance  ; 
the  returns  are  prodigious,  and  the  quality  superexcellent ;  yet 
the  growers,  miserable  in  the  midst  of  plenty,  vegetate  in  cabins 
composed  of  baked  mud,  or  in  holes  burrowed  among  the  friable 
hillocks,  in  an  utter  ignorance  of  furniture,  and  absolute  neces- 
saries. The  want  of  roads,  canals,  and  means  of  transport  pre- 
vents their  exportation  of  produce,  which  from  its  bulk  is  diffi- 
cult of  carriage  in  a  country  wiiere  grain  is  removed  for  the 
most  part  on  four-footed  beasts  of  burden,  after  the  oriental  and 
patriarchal  fashion  of  Jacob,  when  he  sent  to  the  granaries  of 
Egypt.  Accordingly,  although  tliere  are  neither  sliding  scales 
nor  corn  laws,  and  subsistence  is  cheap  and  abundant,  the  popu- 
lation decreases  in  number  and  increases  in  wretchedness ;  what 
boots  it  if  corn  be  low-priced,  if  wages  be  still  lower,  as  they 
then  everywhere  are  and  must  be  ? 

The  finest  bread  in  Spain  is  called  jjan  de  candeal^  which  is 
eaten  by  men  in  office  and  others  in  easy  circumstances,  as  it  was 
by  the  clergy.  The  worst  bread  is  the  pan  de  mttnicion,  and 
forms  the  fare  of  the  Spanish  soldier,  which,  being  sable  as  a  hat, 
coarse  and  hard  as  a  brickbat,  would  just  do  to  sop  in  the  black 
broth  of  the  Spartan  military  ;  indeed,  the  expression  de  municion 
is  synonymous  in  the  Peninsula  with  badness  of  quality,  and  the 
secondary  meaning  is  taken  from  the  perfection  of  badness  which 
is  perceptible  in  every  thing  connected  with  Spanish  ammunition, 
from  the  knapsack  to  the  citadel.  Such  bread  and  water,  and 
both  hardly  earned,  are  the  rations  of  the  poor  patient  Spanish 
private ;  nor  can  he  when  before  the  enemy  reckon  always  on 
even  that,  unless  it  be  supplied  from  an  ally's  commissariat. 


Perhaps  the  best  bread  in  Spain  is  made  at  Alcala  de  Guadaira, 
near  Seville,  of  which  it  is  the  oven,  and  hence  the  town  is  called 
the  Alcala  of  bakers.     There  bread  may  truly  be  said  to  be  the 
soul  of  its  existence,  and  samples  abound  everywhere :    roscas, 
or  circular-formed  rusks,  are  hung  up  like  garlands,  and  hogazas^ 
loaves,  placed  on  tables  outside  the  houses.     It  is,  indeed,  as 
Spaniards  say.   Pan  de  Dios — the  "  angels'  bread  of  Esdras." 
All  classes  here  gain  their  bread  by  making  it,  and  the  water- 
mills  and  mule-mills  are  never  still ;  women  and  children  are 
busy  picking  out  earthy  particles  from  the  grain,  which  get  mixed 
from  the  common  mode  of  threshing  on  a  floor  in  the  open  air, 
which  is  at  once  Biblical  and  Homeric.     At  the  outside  of  the 
villages,  in  corn-growing  districts,   a  smooth  open   "  threshing- 
floor  "  is  prepared,  with  a  hard  surface,  like  a  fives  court :  it  is 
called  the  era,  and  is  the  precise  Roman  area.     The  sheaves  of 
corn  are  spread  out  on  it,  and  four  horses  yoked  most  classically 
to  a  low  crate  or  harrow,  composed  of  planks  armed  with  flints,  &c., 
which  is  called  a  trillo :  on  this  the  driver  is  seated,  who  ur^es 
the  beasts  round  and  round  over  the  crushed  heap.     Thus  the 
grain  is  shaken  out  of  the  ears  and  the  straw  triturated ;  the  latter 
becomes  food  for  horses,  as  the  former  does  for  men.    When  the 
heap  is  sufficiently  bruised,  it  is  removed  and  winnowed  by  being 
thrown  up  into  the  air ;  the  light  winds  carry  off"  the  chaff",  while 
the  heavy  corn  falls  to  the  ground.   The  whole  operation  is  truly 
picturesque  and  singular.     The  scene  is  a  crowded  one,  as  many 
cultivators  contribute  to  the  mass  and  share  in  the  labour ;  their 
wives  and  children  cluster  around,  clad  in  strange  dresses  of  varied 
colours.    They  are  sometimes  sheltered  from  the  god  of  fire  under 
boughs,  reeds,  and  awnings,  run  up  as  if  for  the  painter,  and  fall- 
ing of  themselves  into  pictures,  as  the  lower  classes  of  Spaniards 
and  Italians  always  do.     They  are  either  eating  and  drinking, 
singing  or  dancing,  for  a  guitar  is  never  wanting.     Meanwhile 
the  fierce  horses  dash  over  the  prostrate  sheaves,  and  realise  the 
splendid  simile  of  Homer,  who  likens  to  them  the  fiery  steeds  of 
Achilles  when  driven  over  Trojan  bodies.     These  out-of-door 
threshings  take  place  of  course  when  the  weather  is  dry,  and 
generally  under  a  most  terrific  heat.     The  work   is  often   con- 
tinued at  nightfall  by  torch-light.     During  the  day  the  half-clad 
dusky  reapers  defy  the  sun  and  his  rage,  rejoicing  rather  in  the 


IIG  BEE  AD  [chap.  X. 

heat  like  salamanders  ;  it  is  true  that  their  devotions  to  the  porous 
water-jar  are  unremitting,  nor  is  a  swill  at  a  good  passenger's 
hota  ever  rejected  ;  all  is  life  and  action  ;  busy  hands  and  feet, 
flashing  eyes,  and  eager  screams  ;  the  light  yellow  chaif,  which 
in  the  sun's  rays  glitters  like  gold  dust,  envelopes  them  in  a  halo, 
which  by  night,  when  partially  revealed  by  the  fires  and  mingled 
with  the  torch  glare,  is  almost  supernatural,  as  the  phantom 
figures,  now  dark  in  shadows,  now  crimsoned  by  the  fire  flash, 
flit  to  and  fro  in  tlie  vaporous  mist.  The  scene  never  fails  to 
rivet  and  enchant  the  stranger,  who,  coming  from  the  pale  north 
and  the  commonplace  in-door  flail,  seizes  at  once  all  the  novelty 
of  such  doings.  Eye  and  ear,  open  and  awake,  become  inlets  of 
new  sensations  of  attention  and  admiration,  and  convey  to  heart 
and  mind  the  poetry,  local  colour,  movement,  grouping,  action, 
and  attitude.  But  while  the  cold-blooded  native  of  leaden  skies 
is  full  of  fire  and  enthusiasm,  his  Spanish  companion,  bred  and 
born  under  unshorn  beams,  is  chilly  as  an  icicle,  indifiTerent  as 
an  Arab  :  he  passes  on  the  other  side,  not  only  not  admiring,  but 
positively  ashamed  ;  he  only  sees  the  barbarity,  antiquity,  and 
imperfect  process  ;  he  is  sighing  for  some  patent  machine  made 
in  Birmingham,  to  be  put  up  in  a  closed  barn  after  the  models 
approved  of  by  the  Royal  Agricultviral  Society  in  Cavendish 
Square  ;  his  bowels  yearn  for  the  appliances  of  civilization  by 
which  "  bread  stuffs "  are  more  scientifically  manipulated  and 
manufactured,  minus  the  poetry. 

To  return,  however,  to  dry  bread,  after  this  new  digression, 
and  all  those  who  have  ever  been  in  Spain,  or  have  ever  written 
on  Spanish  things,  must  feel  how  difficult  it  is  to  keep  regularly 
on  the  road  without  turning  aside  at  every  moment,  now  to  cull 
a  wild  flower,  now  to  pick  up  a  sparkling  spar.  This  corn,  so 
beaten,  is  very  carefully  ground,  and  in  La  Mancha  in  those 
charming  windmills,  which,  perched  on  eminences  to  catch  the 
air,  look  to  this  day,  with  their  outstretched  arms,  like  Quixotic 
giants ;  the  flour  is  passed  through  several  hoppers,  in  order  to 
secure  its  fineness.  The  dough  is  most  carefully  kneaded, 
worked,  and  re-worked,  as  is  done  by  our  biscuit-makers  ;  hence 
the  close-grained,  caky,  somewliat  hea-vy  consistency  of  the 
crumb,  whereas,  according  to  Pliny,  the  Romans  esteemed 
Spanish  bread  on  account  of  its  lightness. 

CHAP.  X.]  LUNCHEON.  117 

The  Spanish  loaf  has  not  that  mysterious  sympathy  with  butter 
and  cheese  as  it  has  in  our  verdurous  Old  England,  probably 
because  in  these  torrid  regions  pasture  is  rare,  butter  bad,  and 
cheese  worse,  albeit  they  suited  the  iron  digestion  of  Sancho, 
who  knew  of  nothing  better :  none,  however,  who  have  ever 
tasted  Stilton  or  Parmesan  will  join  in  his  eulogies  of  Castilian 
queso,  the  poorness  of  which  will  be  estimated  by  tiie  distinguished 
consideration  in  which  a  round  cannon-ball  Dutch  cheese  is  held 
throughout  the  Peninsula.  The  traveller,  nevertlieless,  should 
take  one  of  them,  for  bad  is  here  the  best,  in  many  other  things 
besides  these :  he  will  always  carry  some  good  loaves  with  it, 
for  in  the  damper  mountain  districts  the  daily  bread  of  the  natives 
is  made  of  rye,  Indian  corn,  and  the  inferior  cerealia.  Bread  is 
the  staff  of  tlie  Spanish  traveller's  life,  who,  having  added  raw 
garlic,  not  salt,  to  it,  then  journeys  on  with  security,  con  pan  y 
ajo  crudo  se  anda  seguro.  Again,  a  loaf  never  weighs  one  down, 
nor  is  ever  in  the  way  ;  as  ^sop,  the  prototype  of  Sancho,  well 
knew.     La  hogaza  no  emharaza. 

Having  secured  his  bread,  the  cook  in  preparing  supper  should 
make  enough  for  the  next  day's  lunch,  las  once,  the  eleven  o'clock 
meal,  as  the  Spaniards  translate  meridie,  twelve  or  mid-day, 
whence  the  correct  word  for  luncheon  is  derived,  merienda 
merendar.  Wherever  good  dishes  are  cut  up  there  are  good 
leavings,  "  donde  buenas  ollas  quebran,  buenos  cascos  quedan;" 
and  nothing  can  be  more  Cervantic  than  the  occasional  al  fresco 
halt,  when  no  better  place  of  accommodation  is  to  be  met  with. 
As  the  sun  gets  high,  and  man  and  beast  hungry  and  weary, 
wherever  a  tempting  shady  spot  with  running  water  occurs,  the 
party  draws  aside  from  the  high  road,  like  Don  Quixote  and 
Sancho  Panza ;  a  retired  and  concealed  place  is  chosen,  the 
lug-gage  is  removed  from  the  animals,  the  hampers  which  lard 
the  lean  soil  are  unpacked,  the  table-cloth  is  spread  on  the  grass, 
the  botas  are  laid  in  the  water  to  cool  their  contents  ;  then  out 
with  the  provision,  cold  partridge  or  turkey,  sliced  ham  or 
chorizo — simple  cates,  but  which  are  eaten  with  an  appetite  and 
relish  for  which  aldermen  would  pay  hundreds.  They  are  fol- 
lowed, should  grapes  be  wanting,  with  a  soothing  cigar,  and  a 
sweet  slumber  on  earth's  freshest,  softest  lap.  In  such  wild 
banquets  Spain  surpasses  the  Boulevards.     Alas  !  that  such  hours 

118  THE  OLLA.  [chap.  x. 

should  be  bright  and  winged  as  sunbeams  !  Such  is  Peninsular 
country  fare.  The  olla,  on  which  the  rider  may  restore  ex- 
hausted nature,  is  only  to  be  studied  in  larger  towns  ;  and  dining, 
of  whicli  this  is  the  foundation  in  Spain,  is  such  a  great  resource 
to  travellers,  and  Spanish  cookery,  again,  is  so  Oriental,  clas- 
sical, and  singular,  let  alone  its  vital  importance,  that  the  subject 
will  properly  demand  a  chapter  to  itself. 

CHAP.  XI.]  A  SPANISH  COOK.  119 


A  Spanish  Cook — Philosophy  of  Spanish  Cuisine — Sauce — Difficulty  of 
Commissariat — The  Provend — Spanish  Hares  and  Rabbits — The  011a — 
Gai'banzo — Spanish  Pigs — Bacon  and  Hams— Omelette — Salad  and 

It  would  exhaust  a  couple  of  Colonial  numbers  at  least  to  discuss 
properly  the  merits  and  digest  Spanish  cookery.  All  that  can 
be  now  done  is  to  skim  the  subject,  which  is  indeed  fat  and 
unctuous.  Those  meats  and  drinks  will  be  briefly  noticed  which 
are  of  daily  occurrence,  and  those  dishes  described  which  we  have 
often  helped  to  make,  and  oftener  helped  to  eat,  in  the  most  lar- 
derless  veiitas  and  hungriest  districts  of  the  Peninsula,  and  which 
provident  wayfarers  may  make  and  eat  again,  and,  as  we  pray, 
with  no  worse  appetite. 

To  be  a  good  cook,  which  few  Spaniards  are,  a  man  must  not 
onlj^  understand  his  master's  taste,  but  be  able  to  make  something 
out  of  nothing  ;  just  as  a  clever  French  artiste  converts  an  old 
shoe  into  an  epigramme  d'agneau,  or  a  Parisian  milliner  dresses 
up  two  deal  boards  into  a  fine  live  ^ludame,  whose  only  fault  is 
the  appearance  of  too  much  embonpoint.  Genuine  and  legitimate 
Spanish  dishes  are  excellent  in  their  way,  for  no  man  nor  man- 
cook  ever  is  ridiculous  when  he  does  not  attempt  to  be  what  lie 
is  not.  The  au  naturel  may  occasionally  be  somewhat  plain,  but 
seldom  makes  one  sick  ;  at  all  events  it  would  be  as  hopeless  to 
make  a  Spaniard  understand  real  French  cookery  as  to  endeavour 
to  explain  to  a  depute  the  meaning  of  our  constitution  or  parlia- 
ment. Tlie  ruin  of  Spanish  cooks  is  their  futile  attempts  to 
imitate  foreign  ones :  just  as  their  silly  grandees  murder  tlie 
glorious  Castilian  tongue,  by  substituting  what  they  fancy  is  pure 
Parisian,  whicli  they  speak  comme  ties  vacJtes  Espagnoles.  Dis 
moi  ce  que  tu  manges  et  je  te  dirai  ce  que  tu  es  is  "  un  mot  pro- 
fond  "  of  the  great  equity  judge,  Brillat  Savarin,  who  also  dis- 
covered that  "  Les  dcstinees  des  nations  dependent  de  la  maniire 

120  THE  NATIONAL  COOKERY.  [chap.  xi. 

dotit  elles  se  nourrissent ;"  since  which  General  Foy  has  attri- 
buted all  the  accidental  victories  of  the  British  to  rum  and  beef. 
And  this  great  fact  much  enhances  our  serious  respect  for  punch, 
and  our  true  love  for  the  ros-bif  of  old  England,  of  which,  by 
the  way,  very  little  will  be  got  in  the  Peninsula,  where  bulls  are 
bred  for  baiting,  and  oxen  for  the  plough,  not  the  spit. 

The  national  cookery  of  Spain  is  for  the  most  part  Oriental ; 
and  the  ruling  principle  of  its  preparation  is  steiving ;  for,  from 
a  scarcity  of  fuel,  roasting  is  almost  unknown ;  their  notion  of 
which  is  putting  meat  into  a  pan,  setting  it  in  hot  ashes,  and 
then  covering  the  lid  with  burning  embers.  The  pot,  or  olla, 
has  accordingly  become  a  synonyme  for  the  dinner  of  Spaniards, 
just  as  beefsteaks  or  frogs  are  vulgarly  supposed  to  constitute  the 
whole  bill  of  fare  of  two  other  mighty  nations.  AVherever  meats 
are  bad  and  thin,  the  sauce  is  very  important ;  it  is  based  in 
Spain  on  oil,  garlic,  saffron,  and  red  peppers.  In  hot  countries, 
where  beasts  are  lean,  oil  supplies  the  place  of  fat,  as  garlic  does 
the  want  of  flavour,  while  a  stimulating  condiment  excites  or 
curries  up  the  coats  of  a  languid  stomach.  It  has  been  said  of 
our  heretical  countrymen  that  we  have  but  one  form  of  sauce — 
melted  butter — and  a  hundred  different  forms  of  religion,  whereas 
in  orthodox  Spaii^there  is  but  one  of  each,  and,  as  with  religion, 
so  to  change  this  sauce  would  be  little  short  of  heresy.  As  to 
colour,  it  carries  that  rich  burnt  umber,  raw  sienna  tint,  which 
Murillo  imitated  so  well ;  and  no  wonder,  since  he  made  his  par- 
ticular brown  from  baked  olla  bones,  whence  it  was  extracted,  as 
is  done  to  this  day  by  tliose  Spanish  painters  who  indulge  in  meat. 
This  brown  negro  de  hueso  colour  is  the  livery  of  tawny  Spain, 
where  all  is  brown  from  the  Sierra  Blorena  to  duskier  man.  Of 
such  hue  is  his  cloak,  his  terra-cotta  house,  his  wife,  his  ox,  his 
ass,  and  everything  that  is  his.  This  sauce  has  not  only  tlie 
same  colour,  but  the  same  flavour  everywhere ;  hence  the  diffi- 
culty of  making  out  the  material  of  which  any  dish  is  composed. 
ISIot  Mrs.  Glass  herself  could  tell,  by  taste  at  least,  wdiether  the 
ingredients  of  the  cauldron  be  hare  or  cat,  cow  or  calf,  the  afore- 
said ox  or  ass.  It  puzzles  even  the  acumen  of  a  Frenchman  ;  for 
it  is  still  the  great  boast  of  the  town  of  Olvera  that  they  served 
up  some  donkeys  as  rations  to  a  Buonapartist  detachment.  All 
this  is  very  Oriental.     Isaac  could  not  distinguish  tame  kid  from 


wild  venison,  so  perplexing  was  the  disguise  of  the  savoury  sauce ; 
and  yet  his  senses  of  smell  and  touch  were  keen,  and  his  suspicions 
of  unfair  cooking  were  awakened.  A  prudent  diner,  therefore, 
except  when  forced  to  become  his  own  cook,  will  never  look  too 
closely  into  the  things  of  the  kitchen  if  he  wishes  to  live  a  quiet 
life ;  for  qicieit.  las  cosas  mucho  apura,  no  vive  vida  segura. 

All  who  ride  or  run  through  the  Peninsula,  will  read  thirst 
in  the  arid  plains,  and  hunger  in  the  soil-denuded  hills,  where 
those  who  ask  for  bread  will  receive  stones.  The  knife  and 
fork  question  has  troubled  every  warrior  in  Spain,  from 
Henri  IV.  down  to  Wellington  ;  "  subsistence  is  the  great  dif- 
ficulty always  found "  is  the  text  of  a  third  of  the  Duke's 
wonderful  despatches.  This  scarcity  of  food  is  implied  in  the 
very  name  of  Spain,  Syraria,  which  means  poverty  and  destitution, 
as  well  as  in  the  term  BisoFios,  wanters,  which  long  has  been  a 
synonyme  for  Spanish  soldiers,  who  are  always,  as  the  Duke 
described  them,  "  hors  de  combat,"  "  always  wanting  in  every 
thing  at  the  critical  moment."  Hunger  and  thirst  have  ever 
been,  and  are,  the  best  defenders  of  tlie  Peninsula  against  the 
invader.  On  sierra  and  steppe  these  gaunt  sentinels  keep 
watch  and  ward,  and,  on  the  scarecrow  principle,  protect  this 
paradise,  as  they  do  the  infernal  regions  of  Virgil  • — 

*'  Malesuada  fames  et  turpis  egestas 
Horribiles  visu." 

A  riding  tour  through  Spain  has  already  been  likened  to 
serving  a  campaign  ;  and  it  was  a  saying  of  the  Grand  Conde, "  If 
you  want  to  know  what  want  is,  carry  on  a  war  in  Spain."  Yet, 
notwitlistanding  the  thousands  of  miles  which  we  have  ridden, 
never  have  we  yet  felt  that  dire  necessity,  which  has  been  kept 
at  a  respectable  distance  by  a  constant  unremitting  attention  to 
tne  "pi  overb,  A  man  forewarned  is  forearmed.  Hombre  prevenido 
nuncafu  vencido,  there  is  nothing  like  precaution  2in(\  provision. 
"  If  you  mean  to  dine,"  writes  the  all-providing  Duke  to  Lord 
Hill  from  Moraleja,  '■^  you  had  better  bring  your  things,  as 
I  shall  have  nothing  with  me ;" — the  ancient  Bursal  fashion 
holds  good  on  Spanish  roads : — 

"  Regula  Bursalis  est  omni  tempore  talis, 
Prandia  fer  tecum,  si  vis  comedere  mecum.' 

122  EATING  ON  THE  ROAD.  [chap.  xi. 

A  man  who  is  prepared,  is  never  beaten  or  starved ;  therefore, 
as  the  valorous  Dalgetty  has  it,  a  prudent  man  will  always 
victual  himself  in  Spain  with  vivers  for  three  days  at  least,  and 
his  cook,  like  Sancho  Panza,  should  have  nothing  else  in  his 
head,  but  thoughts  how  to  convey  the  most  eatables  into  his  am- 
bulant larder. 

He  must  .set  forth  from  every  tolerable-sized  town  with  an 
ample  supply  of  tea,  sugar,  coftee,  brandy,  good  oil,  wine,  salt, 
to  say  nothing  of  solids.  The  having  something  ready  gives 
him  leisure  to  forage  and  make  ulterior  preparations.  Tiiose 
who  have  a  corps  de  reserve  to  fall  back  upon — say  a  cold  turkey 
and  a  ham — can  always  convert  any  spot  in  the  desert  into  an 
oasis ;  at  the  same  time  the  connection  between  body  and  soul 
may  be  kept  up  by  trusting  to  venta  luck,  of  which  more  anon; 
it  offers,  however,  but  a  miserable  existence  to  persons  of  judg- 
ment. And  even  when  this  precaution  of  provision  be  not  re- 
quired, there  are  never  wanting  in  Spain  the  poor  and  hungry, 
to  whom  the  taste  of  meat  is  almost  unknown,  and  to  whom 
these  crumbs  that  fall  from  the  rich  man's  table  are  indeed  a 
feast ;  the  relish  and  gratitude  with  which  these  fragments  are 
devoured  do  as  much  good  to  the  heart  of  the  donor  as  to  the 
stomach  of  the  donees,  for  the  best  medicines  of  the  poor  are  to 
be  found  in  the  cellars,  kitchens,  and  hampers  of  the  rich.  All 
servants  should  be  careful  of  their  traps  and  stores,  which  are 
liable  to  be  pilfered  and  plundered  in  ventas,  where  the  elite  of 
society  is  not  always  assembled :  the  luggage  should  be  well 
corded,  for  the  devil  is  always  a  gleaning,  ata  al  saco^  ya  espiga 
el  diablo. 

Formerly  all  travellers  of  rank  carried  a  silver  olla  with  a 
key,  the  guardacena,  the  save  supper.  This  ingenious  con- 
trivance has  furnished  matter  for  many  a  pleasantry  in  picaresque 
tales  and  farces.  Madame  Daunoy  gives  us  the  history  of  what 
befel  the  good  Archbishop  of  Burgos  and  his  orthodox  olla. 

There  is  nothing  in  life  like  making  a  good  start ;  thus  the 
party  arrives  safely  at  the  first  resting-place.  The  cook  must 
never  appear  to  have  anything  when  he  arrives  at  an  inn  ;  he 
must  get  from  others  all  he  can,  and  much  is  to  be  had  for  asking 
and  crying,   as  even  a  Spanish  Infante  knows — the  child  that 

CHAP,  xi.l  HARES  AND  RABBITS.  12a 

does  not  cry  is  not  suckled,  quie7i  no  llora,  no  mama;  the 
artiste  must  never  fall  back  on  his  own  reservoirs  except  in  cases 
of  absolute  need ;  during  the  day  he  must  open  his  eyes  and  ears 
and  must  pick  up  everything  eatable,  and  where  he  can  and  when 
he  can.  By  keeping  a  sharp  look-out  and  going  quietly  to  work 
the  cook  may  catch  the  hen  and  her  chickens  too.  All  is  fish  that 
comes  into  the  net,  and,  like  Buonaparte  and  his  marshals,  nothing 
should  be  too  great  for  his  ambition,  nothing  too  small  for  his 
rapacity.  Of  course  he  will  pay  for  his  collections,  which  the 
aforesaid  gentry  did  not :  thus  fruit,  onions,  salads,  which,  as  tliey 
must  be  bought  somewhere,  had  better  be  secured  whenever  they 
turn  up,  Tlie  peasants,  who  are  sad  poachers,  will  constantly 
hail  travellers  from  the  fields  with  offers  of  partridges,  rabbits, 
melons,  hares,  which  always  jump  up  in  this  pays  de  I'imprevu 
when  you  least  expect  it :  Salta  la  liebre  cuando  menos  uno 

Notwithstanding  Don  Quixote  thought  that  it  augured  bad 
luck  to  meet  with  a  hare  on  entering  a  village,  let  not  a  bold 
traveller  be  scared,  but  forthwith  stew  the  omen  ;  a  hare,  as  in 
the  time  of  Martial,  is  considered  by  Spaniards  to  be  the  glory 
of  edible  quadrupeds,  and  to  this  day  no  old  stager  ever  takes  a 
rabbit  when  he  can  get  a  hare,  a  •perro  viejo  echale  liebre  y  no 
conejo.  In  default  however  of  catching  one,  rabbits  may  always 
be  bagged.  Spain  abounds  with  them  to  such  a  degree,  that 
ancient  naturalists  thought  the  animal  indigenous,  and  went  so 
far  as  to  derive  the  name  Spain  from  Seplum,  the  rabbit,  which 
the  Phoenicians  found  here  for  the  first  time.  Be  that  as  it  may, 
the  long-eared  timid  creature  appears  on  the  early  Iberian  coins, 
as  it  will  long  do  on  her  wide  wastes  and  tables.  By  the  bye,  a 
ready-stewed  rabbit  or  hare  is  to  be  eschewed  as  suspicious  in  a 
venta :  at  the  same  time,  if  the  consumer  does  not  find  out  that  it 
is  a  cat,  there  is  no  great  harm  done — ignorance  is  bliss  ;  let  him 
not  know  it,  he  is  not  robbed  at  all.  It  is  a  pity  to  dispel  his 
gastronomic  delusion,  as  it  is  the  knowledge  of  the  cheat  that 
kills,  and  not  the  cat.  Pol !  me  occidistis,  amici.  The  cook 
therefore  should  ascertain  beforehand  what  are  the  bona  fide  in- 
gredients of  every  dish  that  he  sets  before  his  lord. 

In  going  into  the  kitchens  of  the  Peninsula,  precedence  must 
on  every  account  be  given  to  the  alia :  this  word  means  at  once 

124  THE  OLLA  PODRIDA.  [chap.  xi. 

a  species  of  prepared  food,  and  the  earthenware  utensil  in  which 
it  is  dressed,  just  as  our  term  dish  is  applicable  to  the  platter 
and  to  what  is  served  on  it.  Into  this  olla  it  may  be  affirmed 
that  the  whole  culinary  genius  of  Spain  is  condensed,  as  the 
mighty  Jinn  was  into  a  gallipot,  according  to  the  Arabian  Night 
tales.  The  lively  and  gastronomic  French,  who  are  decidedly 
the  leaders  of  European  civilization  in  the  kitchen,  deride  the 
barbarous  practices  of  the  Gotho-Iberians,  as  being  darker  than 
Erebus  and  more  ascetic  than  aesthetic  ;  to  credit  their  authors, 
a  Peninsular  breakfast  consists  of  a  teaspoonful  of  chocolate,  a 
dinner,  of  a  knob  of  garlic  soaked  in  water,  and  a  supper,  of  a 
paper  cigarette  ;  and  according  to  their  parfait  cuisinier,  the 
olla  is  made  of  two  cigars  boiled  in  three  gallons  of  water — but 
this  is  a  calumny,  a  mere  invention  devised  by  the  enemy. 

The  olla  is  only  well  made  in  Andalucia,  and  there  alone  in 
carefid,  well-appointed  houses  ;  it  is  called  a  jmchero  in  the  rest 
of  Spain,  where  it  is  but  a  poor  affair,  made  of  dry  beef,  or  rather 
cow,  boiled  with  garbanzos  or  chick  peas,  and  a  few  sausages. 
These  garbanzos  are  the  vegetable,  the  potato  of  the  land  ;  and 
their  use  argues  a  low  state  of  horticultural  knowledge.  The 
taste  for  them  was  introduced  by  the  Carthaginians — the  p)^ls 
punica,  which  (like  the  Jides  punica,  an  especial  ingredient  in 
all  Spanish  governments  and  finance)  afforded  such  merriment 
to  Plautus,  that  he  introduced  the  chick-pea  eating  Poenus,  pul- 
tiphagonides,  speaking  Punic,  just  as  Shakspere  did  the  toasted- 
cheese  eating  Welishman  talking  Welsh.  These  garbanzos  re- 
quire much  soaking,  being  otherwise  hard  as  bullets  ;  indeed,  a 
lively  Frenchman,  after  wliat  he  calls  an  apology  for  a  dinner, 
compared  them,  in  his  empty  stomach,  as  he  was  jumbled  away 
in  the  dilly,  to  peas  rattling  in  a  child's  drum. 

The  veritable  o//a— the  ancient  time-honoured  olla  podrida, 
or  pot  pourri — the  epithet  is  now  obsolete — is  difficult  to  be 
made :  a  tolerable  one  is  never  to  be  eaten  out  of  Spain,  since  it 
requires  many  Spanish  things  to  concoct  it,  and  much  care  ;  the 
cook  must  tlirow  his  whole  soul  into  the  pan,  or  rather  pot ;  it 
may  be  made  in  one,  but  two  are  better.  They  must  be  of 
earthenware ;  for,  like  tlie  French  pot  aic  feu,  the  dish  is  good 
for  nothing  when  made  in  an  iron  or  copper  vessel ;  take  there- 
fore two,  and  put  them  on   their  separate  stoves  with  water. 


Place  into  No.  1,  Garbanzos,  which  have  been  placed  to  soak 
over-night.  Add  a  good  piece  of  beef,  a  chicken,  a  large  piece 
of  bacon  ;  let  it  boil  once  and  quickly ;  then  let  it  simmer  :  it 
requires  four  or  five  hours  to  be  well  done.  Meanwhile  place 
into  No.  2,  with  water,  whatever  vegetables  are  to  be  had : 
lettuces,  cabbage,  a  slice  of  gourd,  of  beef,  carrots,  beans,  celery, 
endive,  onions  and  garlic,  long  peppers.  These  must  be  pre- 
viously well  washed  and  cut,  as  if  they  were  destined  to  make  a 
salad  ;  then  add  red  sausages,  or  "  chorizos  ;"  half  a  salted  pig's 
face,  which  should  have  been  soaked  over-night.  When  all  is 
sufficiently  boiled,  strain  off  the  water,  and  throw  it  away. 
Remember  constantly  to  skim  the  scum  of  both  saucepans.  When 
all  this  is  sufficiently  dressed,  take  a  large  dish,  lay  in  the  bottom 
the  vegetables,  the  beef  in  the  centre,  flanked  by  the  bacon, 
chicken,  and  pig's  face.  The  sausages  should  be  arranged 
around,  en  couronne  ;  pour  over  some  of  the  soup  of  No.  1,  and 
serve  hot,  as  Horace  did  :  "  Uncta  satis — ponuntur  oluscula 
lardo."  No  violets  come  up  to  the  perfume  which  a  coming 
olla  casts  before  it ;  the  mouth-watering  bystanders  sigh,  as  they 
see  and  smell  the  rich  freight  steaming  away  from  them. 

This  is  the  olla  e?i  grcmde,  such  as  Don  Quixote  says  was 
eaten  only  by  canons  and  presidents  of  colleges ;  like  turtle  soup, 
it  is  so  rich  and  satisfactory  that  it  is  a  dinner  of  itself.  A 
worthy  dignitary  of  Seville,  in  the  good  old  times,  before  reform 
and  appropriation  had  put  out  the  churches'  kitchen  fire,  and 
whose  daily  pot-luck  was  transcendental,  told  us,  as  a  wrinkle,  that 
he  on  feast-days  used  turkeys  instead  of  chickens,  and  added  two 
sharp  Ronda  apples,  and  three  sweet  potatoes  of  Malaga.  His 
advice  is  wortli  attention  :  he  was  a  good  Roman  Catholic  canon, 
who  believed  everything,  absolved  everything,  drank  everything, 
ate  everything,  and  digested  everything.  In  fact,  as  a  general  rule, 
anything  that  is  good  in  itself  is  good  for  an  olla,  provided,  as  old 
vSpanish  books  always  conclude,  that  it  contains  nothing  contrary 
to  the  holy  mother  church,  to  orthodoxy,  and  to  good  manners — 
"  que  no  contiene  cosa  que  se  oponga  a  nuestra  madre  Iglesia,  y 
santa  fe  catolica,  y  huenas  costumhresr  Such  an  olla  as  this  is 
not  to  be  got  on  the  road,  but  may  be  made  to  restore  exhausted 
nature  when  halting  in  the  cities.  Of  course,  every  olla  must 
everywhere  be  made  according  to  what  can  be  got.     In  private 

126  BACON.  [chap.  XI. 

families  the  contents  of  No.  1,  the  soup,  is  served  up  with  bread, 
in  a  tureen,  and  the  frugal  table  decked  with  the  separate  con- 
tents of  the  olla  in  separate  platters  ;  the  remains  coldly  serve,  or 
are  warmed  up,  for  supper. 

The  vegetables  and  bacon  are  absolute  necessaries;  without 
the  former  an  olla  has  neither  grace  nor  sustenance  ;  la  olla  sin 
verdura,  ni  tiene  gracia  ni  hartura,  while  the  latter  is  as  essential 
in  this  stew  as  a  text  from  Saint  Augustine  is  in  a  sermon : 

No  hay  olla  sin  tocino, 
Ni  sermon  sin  Agustino. 

Bacon  throughout  the  length  and  breadth  of  the  Peninsula  is 
more  honoured  than  this,  or  than  any  one  or  all  the  fathers  of  the 
church  of  Rome  ;  the  hunger  after  the  flesh  of  the  pig  is  equalled 
only  by  the  thirst  for  the  contents  of  what  is  put  afterwards  into 
his  skin ;  and  with  reason,  for  the  pork  of  Spain  has  always 
been,  and  is,  unequalled  in  flavour  ;  the  bacon  is  fat  and  flavoured, 
the  sausages  delicious,  and  the  hams  transcendantly  superlative, 
to  use  the  very  expression  of  Diodorus  Siculus,  a  man  of  great 
taste,  learning,  and  judgment.  Of  all  the  things  of  Spain,  no  one 
need  feeling  ashamed  to  plead  guilty  to  a  predilection  and  pre- 
ference to  the  pig.  A  few  particulars  may  be  therefore  par- 

In  Spain  pigs  are  more  numerous  even  than  asses,  since  they 
pervade  the  provinces.  As  those  of  Estremadura,  the  Hampshire 
of  the  Peninsula,  are  the  most  esteemed,  they  alone  will  be  now 
noticed.  That  province,  although  so  little  visited  by  Spaniards 
or  strangers,  is  full  of  interest  to  the  antiquarian  and  naturalist ; 
and  many  are  the  rides  at  different  periods  which  we  have  made 
through  its  tangled  ilex  groves,  and  over  its  depopulated  and 
aromatic  wastes.  A  granary  under  Roman  and  Moor,  its  very 
existence  seems  to  be  all  but  forgotten  by  the  Madrid  govern- 
ment, who  have  abandoned  it  io  ferce  naturce,  to  wandering  sheep, 
locusts,  and  swine.  The  entomology  of  Estremadura  is  endless, 
and  perfectly  uninvestigated — de  minimis  non  curat  Hispanus ; 
but  the  heavens  and  earth  teem  with  the  minute  creation  ;  there 
nature  is  most  busy  and  prolific,  where  man  is  most  idle  and  un- 
productive ;  and  in  these  lonely  wastes,  where  no  human  voice 
disturbs  the  silence,  the  balmy  air  resounds  with  the  buzzing  hum 


of  multitudinous  insects,  which  career  about  on  their  business  of 
love  or  food  without  settlements  or  kitchens,  rejoicing  in  the  fine 
weather  which  is  the  joy  of  their  tiny  souls,  and  short-lived  plea- 
sant existence.  Sheep,  pigs,  locusts,  and  doves  are  the  only 
living  things  which  the  traveller  will  see  for  hours  and  hours. 
Now  and  then  a  man  occurs,  just  to  prove  how  rare  his  species 
is  here. 

Vast  districts  of  this  unreclaimed  province  are  covered  with 
woods  of  oak,  beech,  and  chesnut ;  but  these  park-like  scenes 
have  no  charms  for  native  eyes ;  blind  to  the  picturesque,  they 
only  are  thinking  of  the  number  of  pigs  which  can  be  fattened 
on  the  mast  and  acorns,  whicli  are  sweeter  and  larger  than  those 
of  our  oaks.  The  acorns  are  still  called  hellota^  the  Arabic  bollot 
—  belot  being  the  Scriptural  term  for  the  tree  and  the  gland, 
which,  with  water,  formed  the  original  diet  of  the  aboriginal 
Iberian,  as  well  as  of  his  pig  ;  when  dry,  the  acorns  were  ground, 
say  the  classical  authors,  into  bread,  and,  when  fresh,  they  were 
served  up  as  the  second  course.  And  in  our  time  ladies  of  high 
rank  at  Madrid  constantly  ate  them  at  the  opera  and  elsewhere ; 
they  were  the  presents  sent  by  Sancho  Panza's  wife  to  the  Ducliess, 
and  formed  the  text  on  which  Don  Quixote  preached  so 
eloquently  to  the  goatherds,  on  the  joys  and  innocence  of  the 
golden  age  and  pastoral  happiness,  in  which  they  constituted  the 
foundation  of  the  kitchen. 

The  pigs  during  the  greater  part  of  the  year  are  left  to  support 
nature  as  they  can,  and  in  gauntness  resemble  those  greyhound - 
looking  animals  which  pass  for  porkers  in  France.  When  the 
acorns  are  ripe  and  fall  from  the  trees,  the  greedy  animals  are 
turned  out  in  legions  from  the  villages,  which  more  correctly  may 
be  termed  coalitions  of  pigsties.  They  return  from  the  woods  at 
niglit,  of  their  own  accord,  and  without  a  swine's  general.  On 
entering  the  hamlet,  all  set  off  at  a  full  gallop,  like  a  legion 
possessed  with  devils,  in  a  handicap  for  home,  into  which  each 
single  pig  turns,  never  making  a  mistake.  We  have  more  than 
once  been  caught  in  one  of  these  pig-deluges,  and  nearly  carried 
away  horse  and  all,  as  befell  Don  Quixote,  when  really  swept 
away  by  the  "  far-spread  and  grunting  drove."  In  his  own 
home  eacli  truant  is  welcomed  like  a  prodigal  son  or  a  domestic 
father.      These  pigs   are    the  pets  of  the   peasants;    they  are 

128  KILLING  A  PIG.  [chap,  xi 

brought  up  with  their  children,  and  partake,  as  in  Ireland,  in  the 
domestic  discomforts  of  their  cabins ;  they  are  universally  re- 
spected, and  justly,  for  it  is  this  animal  who  pays  the  "  rint ;"  in 
fact,  are  the  citizens,  as  at  Sorrento,  and  Estremenian  man  is 
quite  a  secondary  formation,  and  created  to  tend  herds  of  these 
swine,  who  lead  the  happy  life  of  former  Toledan  dignitaries, 
with  the  additional  advantage  of  becoming  more  valuable  when 

It  is  astonisliing  how  rapidly  they  thrive  on  their  sweet  food ; 
indeed  it  is  the  whole  duty  of  a  good  pig — animal  propter  con- 
vivia  natum — to  get  as  fat  and  as  soon  as  he  can,  and  then  die 
for  the  good  of  his  country.  It  may  be  observed  for  the  inform- 
ation of  our  farmers,  that  those  pigs  which  are  dedicated  to  St. 
Anthony,  on  whom  a  sow  is  in  constant  attendance,  as  a  dove 
was  on  Venus,  get  the  soonest  fat ;  therefore  in  Spain  young 
porkers  are  sprinkled  with  holy  water  on  his  day,  but  those  of 
other  saints  are  less  propitious,  for  the  killing  takes  place  about 
the  10th  and  11th  of  November,  or,  as  Spaniards  date  it,  por  el 
St.  Andres,  on  the  day  of  St.  Andrew,  or  on  that  of  St.  Mar- 
tin ;  hence  the  proverb  "  every  man  and  pig  has  his  St.  Martin 
or  his  fatal  hour,  a  cada  puerco  su  San  Mart'm." 

The  death  of  a  fat  pig  is  as  great  an  event  in  Spanish  families, 
who  generally  fatten  up  one,  as  tlie  birth  of  a  baby ;  nor  can  the 
fact  be  kept  secret,  so  audible  is  his  announcement.  It  is  con- 
sidered a  delicate  attention  on  the  part  of  the  proprietor  to  cele- 
brate the  auspicious  event  by  sending  a  portion  of  the  chitterlings 
to  intimate  friends.  Tiie  (Spaniard's  proudest  boast  is  that  his 
blood  is  pure,  that  he  is  not  descended  from  pork-eschewing 
Jew  or  Moor — a  fact  which  the  pig  genus,  could  it  reason,  would 
deeply  deplore.  The  Spaniard  doubtless  has  been  so  great  a 
consumer  of  pig,  from  grounds  religious,  as  well  as  gastronomic. 
The  eating  or  not  eating  the  flesh  of  an  animal  deemed  unclean 
by  the  impure  infidel,  became  a  test  of  orthodoxy,  and  at  once 
of  correct  faitli  as  well  as  of  good  taste ;  and  good  bacon,  as  has 
been  just  observed,  is  wedded  to  sound  doctrine  and  St.  Augus- 
tine. The  Spanish  name  Tocino  is  derived  from  the  Arabic 
Tacliim,  which  signifies  fat. 

The  Spaniards  however,  althougli  tremendous  consumers  of 
the  pig,  whether  in  the  salted  form  or  in  the  skin,  have  to  the 


full  the  Oriental  abhorrence  to  the  unclean  animal  in  the  abstract. 
Muy  puerco  is  their  last  expression  for  all  that  is  most  dirty, 
nasty,  or  disgusting.  3Iuy  cochma  never  is  forgiven,  if  applied 
to  woman,  as  it  is  equivalent  to  the  Italian  Vacca,  and  to  the 
canine  feminine  compliment  bandied  among  our  fair  sex  at 
Billingsgate  ;  nor  does  the  epithet  imply  moral  purity  or  chastity  ; 
indeed  in  Castilian  euphuism  the  unclean  animal  was  never  to 
be  named  except  in  a  periphrasis,  or  with  an  apology,  which  is 
a  singular  remnant  of  the  Moorish  influence  on  Spanish  manners. 
Haluf  ov  swine  is  still  the  Moslem's  most  obnoxious  term  for 
the  Christians,  and  is  applied  to  this  day  by  the  ungrateful 
Algerines  to  their  French  bakers  and  benefactors,  nay  even  to 
the  "  illustre  Bugeaud.'" 

The  capital  of  tiie  Estremenian  pig-districts  is  Montanches — 
mons  anguis — ^and  doubtless  the  hilly  spot  where  the  Duke  of 
Arcos  fed  and  cured  "  ces  petits  jambons  vermeils,"  which  the  Due 
de  St.  Simon  ate  and  admired  so  much  ;  "  ces  jambons  ont  un 
parfum  si  admirable,  un  gout  si  rtleve  et  si  vivifiant,  qu'on  en  est 
surpris  :  il  est  impossible  de  rien  manger  si  exquis."  His  Grace 
of  Arcos  used  to  shut  up  the  pigs  in  places  abounding  in  vipers, 
on  which  they  fattened.  Neither  the  pigs,  dukes,  nor  their 
toadeaters  seem  to  have  been  poisoned  by  these  exquisite  vipers. 
According  to  Jonas  Barrington,  the  finest  Irish  pigs  were  those 
that  fed  on  dead  rebels  :  one  Papist  porker,  the  Enniscorthy 
boar,  was  sent  as  a  show,  for  having  eaten  a  Protestant  parson : 
he  was  put  to  death  and  dislionoured  by  not  being  made  bacon  of. 

Naturalists  have  remarked  that  the  rattlesnakes  in  America 
retire  before  their  consuming  enemy,  the  pig,  who  is  thus  the 
gustador  or  pioneer  of  the  new  world's  civilization,  just  as 
Pizarro,  who  was  suckled  by  a  sow,  and  tended  swine  in  his 
youth,  was  its  conqueror.  Be  that  as  it  may,  Montanches  is 
illustrious  in  pork,  in  which  the  burgesses  go  the  whole  hog, 
whetlier  in  the  rich  red  sausage,  the  chorizo,  or  in  the  savouiy 
piquant  embuchados,  which  are  akin  to  the  mortadelle  of  Bologna, 
only  less  hard,  and  usually  boiled  before  eating,  though  good 
also  raw  ;  they  consist  of  the  choice  bits  of  the  pig  seasoned  with 
condiments,  with  which,  as  if  by  retribution,  the  paunch  of  the 
voracious  animal  is  filled  ;  the  ruling  passion  strong  in  death. 
We  strongly  recommend  Juan  Valiente,  who  recently  was  the 


130  A  MEAT  OMELETTE,  chap,  xi. 

alcalde  of  the  town,  to  the  lover  of  delicious  hams;  each  jamon 
ai'erages  about  12  lb.  ;  they  are  sold  at  the  rate  of  7^  reales, 
about  l8fZ.,  for  the  libra  carnicera,  which  weighs  32  of  our 
ounces.  The  duties  iu  England  are  now  very  trifling ;  we  have 
for  many  years  had  an  annual  supply  of  these  delicacies,  through 
the  favour  of  a  kind  friend  at  the  Puerto.  The  fat  of  these 
jamones,  whence  our  word  ham  and  gammon,  when  they  are 
boiled,  looks  like  melted  topazes,  and  the  flavour  defies  language, 
although  we  have  dined  on  one  this  very  day,  in  order  to  secure 
accuracy  and  undeniable  prose,  like  Lope  de  Vega,  who,  accord- 
ing to  his  biographer.  Dr.  Montalvan,  never  could  write  poetry 
tmless  inspired  by  a  rasher  ;  "  Toda  es  cosa  vil,"  said  he,  "  a  donde 
falta  un  per?iH"  (in  which  word  we  recognize  the  precise perna 
whereby  Horace  was  restored)  : — 

Therefore  all  writing  is  a  sham, 
Where  there  is  wanting  Spanish  ham. 

Those  of  Gallicia  and  Catalonia  are  also  celebrated,  but  are 
not  to  be  compared  for  a  moment  with  those  of  Montanches, 
which  are  fit  to  set  before  an  emperor.  Their  only  rivals  are 
the  sweet  hams  of  the  Alpujarras,  which  are  made  at  Trevelez, 
a  pig-hamlet  situated  under  the  snowy  mountains  on  the  oppo- 
site side  of  Granada,  to  which  also  we  have  made  a  pilgrimage. 
They  are  called  dulces  or  sweet,  because  scarcely  any  salt  is 
used  in  the  curing ;  the  ham  is  placed  in  a  weak  pickle  for  eight 
days,  and  is  then  hung  up  in  the  snow ;  it  can  only  be  done  at 
this  place,  where  the  exact  temperature  necessary  is  certain. 
Those  of  our  readers  who  are  curious  in  Spanish  eatables  will 
find  excellent  garbanzcjs,  chorizos,  red  pepper,  chocolate  and 
Valencian  sweetmeats,  &c.  at  Figul's,  a  most  worthy  Catalan, 
whose  shop  is  at  No.  10,  Woburn  Buildings,  St.  Pancras, 
London  ;  the  locality  is  scarcely  less  visited  than  Montanches, 
but  the  penny -post  penetrates  into  this  terra  incognita. 

So  much  space  has  been  filled  with  these  meritorious  bacons 
and  hams,  that  we  must  be  brief  with  our  remaining  bill  of  fare. 
For  a.  pisto  or  meat  omelette  take  eggs,  which  are  to  be  got 
almost  everywhere  ;  see  that  they  are  fresh  by  being  pellucid  ; 
beat  these  kuevos  trasparentes  well  up ;  chop  up  onions  and 
whatever  savoury  herbs  you  have  with  you ;  add  small  slices  of 
any  meat  out  of  your  hamper,  cold  turkey,  ham,  &c. ;  beat  it 

CHAP.  XI.]  THE  GUISADO.  131 

all  up  together  and  fry  it  quickly.  Most  Spaniards  have  a 
peculiar  knack  in  making  these  tortillas,  revueltas  de  huevos, 
which  to  fastidious  stomachs  are,  as  in  most  parts  of  the  Conti- 
nent, a  sure  resource  to  fall  back  upon. 

The  Guisado,  or  stew,  like  the  olla,  can  only  be  really  done 
in  a  Spanish  pipkin,  and  of  those  which  we  import,  the  Anda- 
lucian  ones  draw  flavour  out  tlie  best.  This  dish  is  always  well 
done  by  every  cook  in  every  venta,  barring  that  they  are  apt  to 
put  in  bad  oil,  and  too  much  garlic,  pepper,  and  saffron.  Super- 
intend it,  tlierefore,  yourself,  and  take  hare,  partridge,  rabbit, 
chicken,  or  whatever  you  may  have  foraged  on  the  road ;  it  is 
capital  also  with  pheasant,  as  we  proved  only  yesterday  ;  cut  it 
up,  save  the  blood,  the  liver,  and  the  giblets  ;  do  not  wash  the 
pieces,  but  dry  them  in  a  cloth  ;  fry  them  with  onions  in  a  tea- 
cup of  oil  till  browned  ;  take  an  olla,  put  in  these  bits  with  the 
oil,  equal  portions  of  wine  and  water,  but  stock  is  better  than 
water  ;  claret  answers  well,  Valdeperias  better ;  add  a  bit  of 
bacon,  onions,  garlic,  salt,  pepper,  pimientos,  a  bunch  of  thyme 
or  herbs ;  let  it  simmer,  carefully  skimming  it ;  lialf  an  hour 
before  serving  add  the  giblets  ;  when  done,  which  can  be  tested 
by  feeling  with  a  fork,  serve  hot.  The  stew  should  be  con- 
stantly stirred  with  a  wooden  spoon,  and  grease,  the  ruin  of  all 
cookery,  carefully  skimmed  off  as  it  rises  to  the  surface.  When 
made  with  proper  care  and  with  a  good  salad,  it  forms  a  supper 
for  a  cardinal,  or  for  Santiago  himself. 

Another  excellent  but  very  difficult  dish  is  the  polio  con'arroz, 
or  the  chicken  and  rice.  It  is  eaten  in  perfection  in  Valencia, 
and  therefore  is  often  called  Polio  Valenciano.  Cut  a  good 
fowl  into  pieces,  wipe  it  clean,  but  do  not  put  it  into  water  ; 
take  a  saucepan,  put  in  a  wine-glass  of  fine  oil,  heat  the  oil  well, 
put  in  a  bit  of  bread  ;  let  it  fry,  stirring  it  about  with  a  wooden 
spoon  ;  when  the  bread  is  browned  take  it  out  and  throw  it  away  : 
put  in  two  cloves  of  garlic,  taking  care  that  it  does  not  burn,  as, 
if  it  does,  it  will  turn  bitter  ;  stir  the  garlic  till  it  is  fried  ;  put 
in  the  chicken,  keep  stirring  it  about  while  it  fries,  then  put  in  a 
little  salt  and  stir  again  ;  whenever  a  sound  of  cracking  is  heard, 
stir  it  again  ;  when  the  chicken  is  well  browned  or  gilded,  dorado, 
which  will  take  from  five  to  ten  minutes,  stirring  constantly,  put 
in  chopped  onions,  three  or  four  chopped  red  or  green  chilis,  and 


132  STARRED  EGGS.  [chap.  xi. 

stir  about ;  if  once  the  contents  catch  the  pan,  the  dish  is  spoiled  ; 
then  add  tomatas,  divided  into  quarters,  and  parsley  ;  take  two 
teacupsful  of  rice,  mix  all  well  up  together ;  add  hot  stoct^nough 
to  cover  the  whole  over ;  let  it  boil  once,  and  then  set  it  aside  to 
simmer  until  the  rice  becomes  tender  and  done.  The  great  art 
consists  in  having  the  rice  turned  out  granulated  and  separate, 
not  in  a  pudding  state,  which  is  sure  to  be  the  case  if  a  cover  be 
ever  put  over  the  dish,  which  condenses  the  steam. 

It  may  be  objected,  that  these  dishes,  if  so  curious  in  the  cook- 
ing, are  not  likely  to  be  well  done  in  the  rude  kitchens  of  a  venta  ; 
but  practice  makes  perfect,  and  the  whole  mind  and  intellect  of  the 
artist  is  concentrated  on  one  object,  and  not  frittered  away  by  a  mul- 
tiplicity of  dishes,  the  rock  on  which  many  cooks  founder,  where 
more  dinners  are  sacrificed  to  the  eye  and  ostentation.  One  dish 
and  one  thing  at  a  time  is  the  golden  rule  of  Bacon  ;  many  are 
the  anxious  moments  that  we  have  spent  over  the  rim  of  a 
Spanish  pipkin,  watching,  life  set  on  the  cast,  the  wizen  she- 
mummy,  whose  mind,  body,  and  spoon  were  absorbed  in  a  single 
mess :  Well,  my  mother,  que  tal  ?  what  sort  of  a  stew  is  it  ? 
Let  me  smell  and  taste  the  salsa.  Good,  good  ;  it  promises 
much.  Vamos,  Senora — go  on,  my  lady,  thy  spoon  once  more 
— how,  indeed,  can  oil,  wine,  and  nutritive  juices  amalgamate 
without  frequent  stirring?  Well,  very  well  it  is.  Now  again, 
daughter  of  my  soul,  thy  fork.  Asi,  asi ;  thus,  thus.  JPer  JBacco, 
by  Bacchus,  tender  it  is — may  heaven  repay  thee  !  Indeed,  from 
this  tenderness  of  the  meat  arises  ease  of  digestion  ;  here,  pot  and 
fire  do  half  the  work  of  the  poor  stomach,  which  too  often  in 
inns  elsewhere  is  overtaxed,  like  its  owner,  and  condemned  to 
hard  labour  and  a  brickbat  beefsteak. 

Poached  eggs  are  at  all  events  within  the  grasp  of  the  meanest 
culinary  capacity.  They  are  called  Huevos  estrellados,  starred 
eggs.  When  fat  bacon  is  wedded  to  them,  the  dish  is  called  Huevos 
conmagras',  not  that  mar/ras  here  means  thin  as  to  condition, 
but  rather  as  to  slicing ;  and  these  slices,  again,  are  positively  thick 
ones  when  compared  to  those  triumphs  of  close  shaving  which 
are  carved  at  Vauxhall.  To  make  this  dish,  with  or  without  the 
bacon,  take  eggs  ;  the  contents  of  the  shell  are  to  be  emptied  into 
a  pan  filled  with  hot  oil  or  lard,  manteca  de  'puerco,  pig's  butter : 
it  must  be  remembered,  although  Strabo  mentions  as  a  singular 

CHAP.  XI.]  SALAD.  1.33 

fact  that  the  Iberians  made  use  of  butter  instead  of  oil,  tliat  now 
it  is  just  the  reverse  ;  a  century  ago  J)utter  was  only  sold  by  the 
apothecaries,  as  a  sort  of  ointment,  and  it  used  to  be  iniquitous. 
Spaniards  generally  used  either  Irish  or  Flemish  salted  butter, 
and  from  long  habit  thought  fresh  butter  qiute  insipid ;  indeed, 
they  have  no  objection  to  its  being  a  trifle  or  so  rancid,  just  as 
some  aldermen  like  high  venison.  In  the  present  age  of  pro- 
gress the  Queen  Christina  has  a  fancy  dairy  at  Madrid,  where 
she  makes  a  few  pounds  of  fresh  butter,  of  which  a  small  portion 
is  or  was  sold,  at  five  shillings  the  pound,  to  foreign  ambassadors 
for  their  breakfast.  Recently  more  attention  has  been  paid  to 
the  dairy  in  the  Swiss-like  provinces  of  the  north-west.  The 
Spaniards,  like  the  heroes  in  the  Iliad,  seldom  boil  their  food 
(eggs  excepted),  at  least  not  in  water ;  for  frying,  after  all,  is 
but  boiling  in  oil. 

Travellers  should  be  cautioned  against  the  captivating  name 
of  manteca  Valenciana.  Tliis  Valencian  butter  is  composed  (for 
the  cow  has  nothing  to  do  with  it)  of  equal  portions  of  garlic  and 
hogs'  lard  pounded  together  in  a  mortar ;  it  is  then  spread  on 
bread,  just  as  we  do  arsenic  to  destroy  vermin.  It,  however, 
agrees  well  with  the  peasants,  as  does  the  soup  of  their  neighbours 
the  Catalans,  whicli  is  made  of  bread  and  garlic  in  equal  portions 
fried  in  oil  and  diluted  with  hot  water.  This  mess  is  called  sopa 
de  gato,  probably  from  making  cats,  not  Catalans,  sick. 

One  thing,  however,  is  truly  delicious  in  Spain — the  salad,  to 
compound  which,  says  the  Spanisli  proverb,  four  persons  are 
wanted  :  a  spendthrift  for  oil,  a  miser  for  vinegar,  a  counsellor 
for  salt,  and  a  madman  to  stir  it  all  up.  N.B.  Get  the  biggest 
bowl  you  can,  in  order  that  this  latter  operation  may  be  thoroughly 
performed.  The  salad  is  the  glory  of  every  French  dinner,  and 
the  disgrace  of  most  in  England,  even  in  good  houses,  and  from 
two  simple  causes  ;  first,  from  the  putting  in  eggs,  nmstartl,  and 
other  heretical  ingredients,  and,  secondly,  from  making  it  long  be- 
fore it  is  wanted  to  be  eaten,  whereby  the  green  materials,  which 
should  be  crisp  and  fresh,  become  sodden  and  leatliery.  Prepare, 
therefore,  your  salad  in  separate  vessels,  and  never  mix  the  sauce 
with  the  herbs  until  the  instant  that  you  are  ready  to  transfer  the 
refreshing  result  to  your  plate.  Take  lettuce,  or  wliatevev  salad 
is  to  be  got ;  do  not  cut  it  with  a  steel  knife,  which  turns  the 

134  GAZPACHO.  [chap.  xi. 

edges  of  the  wounds  black,  and  communicates  an  evil  flavour ; 
let  the  leaf  be  torn  from  the  stem,  which  throw  away,  as  it  is 
hard  and  bitter  ;  wash  the  mass  in  many  waters,  and  rinse  it  in 
napkins  till  dry  ;  take  a  small  bowl,  put  in  equal  quantities  of 
vinegar  and  water,  a  teaspoonful  of  pepper  and  salt,  and  four 
times  as  much  oil  as  vinegar  and  water,  mix  the  same  well  toge- 
ther ;  prepare  in  a  plate  whatever  fine  herbs  can  be  got,  especially 
tarragon  and  chervil,  which  must  be  chopped  small.  Pour  the 
sauce  over  the  salad,  powder  it  with  these  herbs,  and  lose  no 
time  in  eating.  For  making  a  much  worse  salad  than  this,  a 
foreign  artiste  in  London  used  some  years  ago  to  charge  a 

Any  remarks  on  Spanish  salads  would  be  incomplete  without 
some  account  o^  gazpacho,  that  vegetable  soup,  or  floating  salad, 
which  during  the  summer  forms  tlie  food  of  the  bulk  of  the 
people  in  the  torrid  portions  of  Spain.  This  dish  is  of  Arabic 
origin,  as  its  name,  ''  soaked  bread,"  implies.  This  most  ancient 
Oriental  Roman  and  Moorish  refection  is  composed  of  onions, 
garlic,  cucumbers,  chilis,  all  chopped  up  very  small  and  mixed 
with  crumbs  of  bread,  and  then  put  into  a  bowl  of  oil,  vinegar, 
and  fresh  water.  Reapers  and  agricultural  labourers  could  never 
stand  the  sun's  fire  without  this  cooling  acetous  diet.  This  was 
the  o^vKparog  of  the  Greeks,  the  posca,  potable  food,  meat  and 
drink,  potus  et  esca,  whicli  formed  part  of  the  rations  of  the 
Roman  soldiers,  and  which  Adrian  (a  Spaniard)  delighted  to 
share  with  them,  and  into  which  Boaz  at  meal-time  invited  Ruth 
to  dip  her  morsel.  Dr.  Buchanan  found  some  Syrian  Christians 
who  still  called  it  ail,  ail,  Hil,  Hila,  for  which  our  Saviour  was 
supposed  to  have  called  on  the  Cross,  when  those  who  understood 
that  dialect  gave  it  him  from  the  vessel  which  was  full  of  it  for 
the  guard.  In  Andalucia,  during  the  summer,  a  bowl  of  gaz- 
pacho  is  commonly  ready  in  every  house  of  an  evening,  and  is 
partaken  of  by  every  person  who  comes  in.  It  is  not  easily 
digested  by  strangers,  who  do  not  require  it  quite  so  much  as 
the  natives,  whose  souls  are  more  parched  and  dried  up,  and 
who  perspire  less.  The  components,  oil,  vinegar,  and  bread, 
are  all  that  is  given  out  to  the  lower  class  of  labourers  by  farmers 
who  profess  to  feed  them  ;  two  cow's  horns,  the  most  primitive 
form  of  bottle  and  cup,  are  constantly  seen  suspended  on  each 

CHAP,  xi.]  GAZPACHO.  135 

side  of  their  carts,  and  contain  this  provision,  with  which  they 
compound  their  migas :  this  consists  of  crumbs  of  bread  fried  in 
oil,  witli  pepper  and  garlic  ;  nor  can  a  stronger  proof  be  given 
of  the  common  poverty  of  tlieir  fare  tlian  tlie  common  expression, 
"  buenas  migas  hay"  there  are  good  crumbs,  being  equivalent 
to  capital  eating.  In  very  cold  weather  the  mess  is  warmed, 
and  then  is  called  gazpacho  culiente.  Oh  !  dura  messorum  ilia 
— oh  !  the  iron  mess  digesting  stomachs  of  ploughmen. 

136  WATER.  [chap.  xii. 


Drinks  of  Spain — Water — Irrigation — Fountains — Spanish  Thirstiness — The 
Alcarraza  — Water  Carriers — Ablutions  —  Spanish  Chocolate —  Agraz — 
Beer  Lemonade. 

In  dipping  into  Spanish  liquids  we  shall  not  mix  wine  with 
water,  but  keep  them  separate,  as  most  Spaniards  do ;  the  latter 
is  entitled  to  rank  first,  by  those  who  prefer  the  opinion  of  Pin- 
dar, who  held  water  to  be  the  best  of  things,  to  that  of  Anacreon, 
who  was  not  member  of  any  temperance  society.  The  profound 
regard  for  water  of  a  Spaniard  is  ijuite  Oriental ;  at  the  same  time, 
as  his  blood  is  partly  Gothic  and  partly  Arab,  his  allegiance  is 
equally  mixed  and  divided  ;  thus,  if  he  adores  the  juice  of  flints 
like  a  Moslem,  he  venerates  the  juice  of  the  grape  like  a  German. 

Water  is  the  blood  of  the  earth,  and  the  purificator  of  the 
body  in  tropical  regions  and  in  creeds  which,  being  regulated  by 
latitudes,  enforce  frequent  ablution ;  loud  are  the  praises  of 
Arab  writers  of  wells  and  water-brooks,  and  great  is  their  foun- 
tain and  pool  worship,  the  dipping  in  which,  if  their  miraculous 
cases  are  to  be  credited,  effects  more  and  greater  cures  than  those 
worked  by  hydropathists  at  Grafenberg  ;  a  Spaniard's  idea  of  a 
paradise  on  earth,  of  a  "  garden,"  is  a  well-watered  district ; 
irrigation  is  fertility  and  wealth,  and  therefore,  as  in  the  East, 
wells,  brooks,  and  water-courses  have  been  a  constant  source  of 
bickering ;  nay  the  very  word  rivality  has  been  derived  from 
these  quarrel  and  law-suit  engendering  rivers,  as  the  name  given 
to  the  well  for  which  the  men  of  Gerah  and  Isaac  diftered,  was 
called  eseh  from  the  contention. 

The  flow  of  waters  cannot  be  mistaken  ;  the  most  dreary  ste- 
rility edges  the  most  luxuriant  plenty,  the  most  liopeless  barren- 
ness borders  on  the  richest  vegetation;  tlie  line  of  demarcation 
is  perceived  from  afar,  dividing  the  tawny  desert  from  the  ver- 
durous garden.  The  Moors  who  came  from  the  East  were  fully 
sensible  of  the  value  of  this  element ;  they  collected  the  best 


springs  with  the  greatest  care,  they  dammed  up  narrow  gorges 
into  reservoirs,  they  constructed  pools  and  underground  cisterns, 
stemmed  valleys  with  aqueducts  that  poured  in  rivers,  and  in  a 
word  exercised  a  magic  influence  over  this  element,  which  they 
guided  and  wielded  at  their  will ;  their  system  of  irrigation  was 
far  too  perfect  to  be  improved  by  Spaniard,  or  even  destroyed.  In 
those  favoured  districts  where  their  artificial  contrivances  remain, 
Flora  still  smiles  and  Ceres  rejoices  with  Pomona  ;  wherever  the 
ravages  of  war  or  the  neglect  of  man  have  ruined  them,  the  gar- 
den has  relapsed  into  the  desert,  and  plains  once  overflowing  with 
corn,  gladness,  and  population,  have  shrunk  into  sad  and  silent 

The  fountains  of  Spain,  especially  in  the  hotter  and  more 
Moorish  districts,  are  numerous ;  they  cannot  fail  to  strike  and 
please  the  stranger,  whether  they  be  situated  in  the  public  walk, 
garden,  market-place,  or  private  dwelling.  Their  mode  of  supply 
is  simple  :  a  river  which  flows  down  from  the  hills  is  diverted  at  a 
certain  height  from  its  source,  and  is  carried  in  an  artificial  canal, 
which  retains  the  original  elevation,  into  a  reservoir  placed  above 
the  town  which  is  to  be  served ;  as  the  waters  rise  to  their  level, 
the  force,  body,  and  altitude  of  some  of  the  columns  tlirown  up  are 
very  great.  In  our  cold  country,  where,  except  at  Charing  Cross, 
the  stream  is  conveyed  underground  and  unseen,  all  this  gush  of 
waters,  of  dropping  diamonds  in  the  bright  sun,  which  cools  the 
air  and  gladdens  the  sight  and  ear,  is  unknown.  Again  there  is  a 
waste  of  the  "  article,"  which  would  shock  a  Chelsea  Water- 
works Director,  and  induce  the  rate-collector  to  refer  to  the  fines 
as  per  Act  of  Parliament.  The  fondest  wish  of  those  Spaniards 
who  wear  long-tailed  coats,  is  to  imitate  those  gentry ;  they  are 
ashamed  of  the  patriarchal  uncivilised  system  of  their  ancestors — 
much  prefer  the  economical  lead  pipe  to  all  this  extravagant  and 
gratuitous  splashing — they  love  a  turncock  better  than  the  most 
Oriental  Rebecca  who  comes  down  to  draw  water.  The  fountains 
in  Spain  as  in  the  East  are  the  meeting  and  greeting  places  of 
womankind ;  here  they  flock,  old  and  young,  infants  and  grand- 
mothers. It  is  a  sight  to  drive  a  water-colour  painter  crazy, 
such  is  the  colour,  costume,  and  groupings,  such  is  the  clatter  of 
tongues  and  crockery  ;  such  is  tlie  life  and  action  ;  now  trip  along 
a  bevy  of  damsel  Hebes  with  upright  forms  and  chamois  step 

138  THIRST.  [chap.  xn. 

light  yet  true  ;  more  graceful  than  opera-dancers,  they  come 
laugliing  and  carolling  along,  poising  on  their  heads  pitchers 
modelled  after  the  antique,  and  after  everything  which  a  Sevres 
jug  is  not.  It  would  seem  that  to  draw  water  is  a  difficult  ope- 
ration, so  long  are  they  lingering  near  the  sweet  fountain's  rim. 
It  indeed  is  their  al  fresco  rout,  their  tertulia  ;  here  for  awhile 
the  hand  of  woman  labour  ceases,  and  the  urn  stands  still ; 
here  more  than  even  after  church  mass,  do  the  young  discuss 
their  dress  and  lovers,  tlie  middle-aged  and  mothers  descant  on 
babies  and  housekeeping ;  all  talk,  and  generally  at  once ;  but 
gossip  refresheth  the  daughters  of  Eve,  whether  in  gilded  boudoir 
or  near  mossy  fountain,  whose  water,  if  a  dash  of  scandal  be 
added,  becomes  sweeter  than  eau  sucree. 

The  Iberians  were  decided  water-drinkers,  and  this  trait  of 
their  manners,  which  are  modified  by  climate  that  changes  not, 
still  exists  as  the  sun  that  regulates :  the  vinous  Greek  Athenaeus 
was  amazed  that  even  rich  Spaniards  should  prefer  water  to  wine  ; 
and  to  this  day  they  are  if  possible  curious  about  the  latter's  qua- 
lity ;  they  will  just  drink  the  wine  that  grows  the  nearest,  while 
they  look  about  and  enquire  for  the  best  water ;  thus  even  our 
cook  Francisco,  who  certainly  had  one  of  the  best  places  in  Seville, 
and  who  although  a  good  artiste  was  a  better  rascal — qualities 
not  incompatible — preferred  to  sacrifice  his  interests  rather  than 
go  to  Granada,  because  this  man  of  the  fire  had  heard  that  the 
water  there  was  bad. 

The  mother  of  the  Arabs  was  tormented  with  thirst,  which  her 
Hispano-Moro  children  have  inherited  ;  in  fact  in  the  dog-days, 
of  whicli  here  there  are  packs,  unless  the  mortal  clay  be  frequently 
wetted  it  would  crumble  to  bits  like  that  of  a  figure  modeller. 
Fire  and  water  are  the  elements  of  Spain,  whether  at  an  auto 
de  fe  or  in  a  church-stoop  ;  with  a  cigar  in  his  mouth  a  Spaniard 
smokes  like  Vesuvius,  and  is  as  dry,  combustible,  and  inflam- 
matory ;  and  properly  to  understand  the  truth  of  Solomon's 
remark,  that  cold  water  is  to  a  thirsty  soul  as  refreshing  as  good 
news,  one  must  have  experienced  what  thirst  is  in  the  exposed 
plains  of  the  calcined  Castiles,  where  coup  de  soleil  is  rife,  and  a 
gentleman  on  horseback's  brains  seem  to  be  melting  like  Don 
Quixote's  when  Sancho  put  the  curds  into  his  helmet.  It  is  Just 
the  country  to  send  a  patient  to,  who  is  troubled  with   hydro- 


phobia.  "  Those  rayes,"  to  use  the  words  of  old  Howell,  "  that 
do  but  warm  you  in  England,  do  roast  you  here ;  those  beams 
that  irradiate  onely,  and  gild  your  honey-suckled  fielas,  do  here 
scorch  and  parch  the  chinky  gaping  soyle,  and  put  too  many 
wrinkles  upon  the  face  of  your  common  mother." 

Then,  when  the  heavens  and  eartli  are  on  fire,  and  the  sun 
drinks  up  rivers  at  one  draught,  when  one  burnt  sienna  tone  per- 
vades the  tawny  ground,  and  the  green  herb  is  shrivelled  up 
into   black  gunpowder,  and  the  rare  pale  ashy  olive-trees  are 
blanched  into  the  livery  of  the  desert ;  then,  when  the  Iieat  and 
harshness  make  even  the  salamander  muleteers  swear  doubly  as 
they  toil  along  like  demons  in  an  ignited  salitrose  dust — then,  in- 
deed, will  an  Englishman  discover  that  he  is  made  of  the  same 
material,  only  drier,  and  learn  to  estimate  water ;  but  a  good 
thirst  is  too  serious  an   evil,  too  bordering  on  suffering,  to  be 
made,  like  an  appetite,  a  matter  of  congratulation ;  for  when  all 
fluids  evaporate,  and  the  blood  thickens  into  currant  jelly,  and  the 
nerves  tighten  up  into  the  catgut  of  an  overstrung  fiddle,  getting 
attuned  to  the  porcupinal  irritability  of  the  tension  of  the  mind, 
how  the  parched  soul  sighs  for  the  comfort  of  a  Scotch  mist,  and 
fondly  turns  back  to  the  uvula-relaxing  damps  of  Devon  ! — then, 
in  the  blackhole-like  thirst  of  the  wilderness,  every  mummy  hag 
rushing  from  a  reed  hut,  with  a  porous  cup  of  brackish  water,  is 
changed  by  the  mirage  into  a  Hebe,  bearing  the  nectar  of  the 
immortals ;  then  how  one  longs  for  the  most  wretched  Venta, 
which  heat  and  thirst  convert  into  the  Clarendon,  since  in  it  at 
least  will  be  found  water  and  shade,  and  an  escape  from  the  god 
of  fire  !     Well  may  Spanish  historians  boast,  that  his  orb  at  the 
creation  first  shone  over  Toledo,  and  never  since  has  set  on  the 
dominions  of  the  great  king,  wiio,  as  we  are  assured  by  Senor 
Berni,  "  has  the  sun  for  his  hat," — tiene  al  sol  por  su  sombrero ; 
but  humbler  mortals  who  are  not  grandees  of  this  solar  system, 
and  to  whom  a  coup  de  soleil  is  neither  a  joke  nor  a  metaphor, 
should  stow  away  non-conductors  of  heat  in  the  crown  of  their 
beavers.     Tims  Apollo  himself  preserved  us.     And  oh  !  ye  our 
fair  readers,  who  chance  to  run  such  risks,  and  value  complexion, 
take  for  heaven's  sake  a  parasol  and  an  Alcarraza. 

This  clay  utensil — as  its  Arabic  name  al  Karaset  implies — is  a 
porous  refrigeratory  vessel,  in  which  water  when  placed  in  a  current 

140  SPANISH  WATER-SELLERS.  [chap.  xii. 

of  hot  air  becomes  cliilled  by  evaporation  ;  it  is  to  be  seen  hung 
up  on  poles  dangling  from  branches,  suspended  to  waggons — 
in  siiort,  is  part  and  parcel  of  a  Spanish  scene  in  hot  weather  and 
localities ;  every  posada  has  rows  of  them  at  the  entrance,  and 
the  first  thing  every  one  does  on  entering,  before  wishing  even 
the  hostess  Good  morning,  or  asking  permission,  is  to  take  a  full 
draught :  all  classes  are  learned  on  the  subject,  and  although  on 
the  whole  they  cannot  be  accused  of  teetotalism,  tliey  are  loud 
in  their  praises  of  the  pure  fluid.  The  common  form  of  praise 
is  agua  muy  rica — very  rich  water.  According  to  their  pro- 
verbs, good  water  should  have  neither  taste,  smell,  nor  colour, 
"  ni  sabor,  olor,  ni  color^^  which  neither  makes  men  sick  nor  in 
debt,  nor  women  widows,  "  que  no  enferma,  no  adeuda,  no 
enviuda ;"  and  besides  being  cheaper  than  wine,  beer,  or  brandy, 
it  does  not  brutalize  the  consumer,  nor  deprive  him  of  his  com- 
mon sense  or  good  manners. 

As  Spaniards  at  all  times  are  as  dry  as  the  desert  or  a  sponge, 
selling  water  is  a  very  active  business;  on  every  alam&da  and 
prado  shi'ill  voices  of  the  sellers  of  drinks  and  mouth  combustibles 
— vendedores  de  combustibles  de  boca — are  heard  crying,  "  Fire, 
fire,  candela — Water  ;  who  wants  water  ?" — agtia  ;  quien  quiere 
agua  ?  which,  as  these  Orientals  generally  exaggerate,  is  described 
as  mas  fresca  que  la  nieve,  or  colder  than  snow  ;  and  near  them 
little  Murillo-like  urchins  run  about  with  lighted  ropes  like  artil- 
lerymen for  the  convenience  of  smokers,  that  is,  for  every  ninety 
and  nine  males  out  of  a  liundred  ;  while  water-carriers,  or  rather 
retail  pedestrian  aqueducts,  follow  thirst  like  fire-engines ;  the 
Aguador  carries  on  his  back,  like  his  colleague  in  the  East,  a 
porous  water-jar,  with  a  little  cock  by  which  it  is  drawn  out ;  he 
is  usually  provided  with  a  small  tin  box  strapped  to  his  waist, 
and  in  which  he  stows  away  his  glasses,  brushes,  and  some  light 
azucarillos — jmnales,  which  are  made  of  sugar  and  white  of  egg, 
which  Spaniards  dip  and  dissolve  in  their  drink.  In  the  town, 
at  particular  stations  water-mongers  in  wholesale  have  a  shed, 
with  ranges  of  jars,  glasses,  oranges,  lemons,  &c.,  and  a  bench  or 
two  on  which  the  drinkers  "  untire  tliemselves."  In  winter 
these  are  provided  with  an  anafe  or  portable  stove,  which  keeps 
a  supply  of  hot  water,  to  take  the  chill  off  the  cold,  for  Spaniards, 
from  a  sort  of  dropsical  habit,,  drink  like  fishes  all  the  year  round. 

CHAP.  xir.l  WANT  OF  CLEANLINESS.  141 

Ferdinand  the  Citholic,  on  seeing  a  peasant  drowned  in  a  river, 
observed,  "  that  he  had  never  before  seen  a  Spaniard  who  had 
had  enough  water." 

At  the  same  time  it  must  be  remembered  that  this  fluid  is 
applied  with  greater  prodigality  in  washing  their  inside  than 
their  outside.  Indeed,  a  classical  author  remarks  that  the 
Spaniards  only  learnt  the  use  of  hot  water,  as  applicable  to  the 
toilette,  from  the  Romans  after  the  second  Punic  war.  Their 
baths  and  thermce  were  destroyed  by  the  Goths,  because  they 
tended  to  encourage  effeminacy ;  and  those  of  the  Moors  were 
prohibited  by  the  Gotho-Spaniards  partly  from  similar  reasons, 
but  more  from  a  religious  hydrophobia.  Ablutions  and  lustral 
purifications  formed  an  article  of  faith  with  the  Jew  and 
Moslem,  with  whom  "cleanliness  is  godliness."  The  mendicant 
Spanish  monks,  according  to  their  practice  of  setting  up  a 
directly  antagonist  principle,  considered  pliysical  dirt  as  the  test 
of  moral  purity  and  true  faith  ;  and  by  dining  and  sleeping  from 
year's  end  to  year's  end  in  the  same  unchanged  woollen  frock, 
arrived  at  the  height  of  their  ambition,  according  to  their  view 
of  the  odour  of  sanctity,  insomuch  that  Ximenez,  who  was  him- 
self a  shirtless  Franciscan,  induced  Ferdinand  and  Isabella,  at 
the  conquest  of  Granada,  to  close  and  abolish  the  Moorisli  baths. 
They  forbade  not  only  the  Christians  but  the  Moors  from  using 
anything  but  holy  water.  Fire,  not  water,  became  the  grand 
element  of  inquisitorial  purification. 

The  fair  sex  was  warned  by  monks,  who  practised  what  they 
preached,  that  thej' shoultl  remember  the  cases  of  Susanna,  Bath- 
sheba,  and  La  Cava,  whose  fatal  bathing  under  the  royal  palace 
at  Toledo  led  to  the  downfall  of  the  Gothic  monarchy.  Their 
aqueous  anathemas  extended  not  only  to  public,  l)ut  to  minutely 
private  washings,  regarding  which  Sanchez  instructs  the  Spanish 
confessor  to  question  his  fair  penitents,  and  not  to  absolve  the 
over-washed.  Many  instances  could  be  produced  of  the  prac- 
tical working  of  this  enjoined  rule ;  for  instance,  Isabella,  the 
favourite  daughter  of  Philip  II.,  Iris  eye,  as  he  called  her,  made 
a  solemn  vow  never  to  change  her  shift  until  Ostend  was  taken. 
The  siege  lasted  three  years,  three  months,  and  thirteen  days.  The 
royal  garment  acquired  a  tawny  colour,  which  was  called  Isabel 
by  the  courtiers,  in  compliment  to  tlie  pious  princess.  Again, 
Soutbey  relates  that  the  devout  Saint  Eufi  axia  entered  into  a 

142  CHOCOLATE.  [chap.  xn. 

convent  of  1 30  nuns,  not  one  of  whom  had  ever  washed  her  feet, 
and  the  very  mention  of  a  bath  was  an  abomination.  These 
obedient  daughters  to  their  Capucliin  confessors  were  what  Gil  de 
Avila  termed  a  sweet  garden  of  flowers,  perfumed  by  the  good 
smell  and  reputation  of  sanctity,  '■'■  ameno  jardin  de  Jlores,  olo- 
rosas  por  el  buen  odor  y  fama  de  santidad.''  Justice  to  the  land 
of  Castile  soap  requires  us  to  observe  that  latterly,  since  the 
suppression  of  monks,  both  sexes,  and  the  fair  especially,  have 
departed  from  the  strict  observance  of  the  religious  duties  of 
their  excellent  grandmothers.  Warm  baths  are  now  pretty  gene- 
rally established  in  the  larger  towns.  At  the  same  time,  the 
interiors  of  bedrooms,  whether  in  inns  or  private  houses,  as  well 
by  the  striking  absence  of  glass  and  china  utensils,  which  to 
English  notions  are  absolute  necessaries,  as  by  the  presence  of 
French  pie-dish  basins,  and  duodecimo  jugs,  indicate  that  this 
"  little  damned  spot "  on  the  average  Spanish  hand,  has  not  yet 
been  quite  rubbed  out. 

However  hot  the  day,  dusty  the  road,  or  long  the  journey,  it 
has  never  been  our  fate  to  see  a  Spanish  attendant  use  a  single 
drop  of  water  as  a  detergent,  or,  as  polite  writers  say,  "  perform 
his  ablutions  ;"  the  constant  habit  of  bathing  and  complete  wash- 
ing is  undoubtedly  one  reason  why  the  French  and  other  conti- 
nentals consider  our  soap-loving  countrymen  to  be  cracked. 
Under  the  Spanish  Goths  the  Hemerobaptistae,  or  people  who 
washed  their  persons  once  a  day,  were  set  down  as  heretics.  The 
Duke  of  Frias,  when  a  few  years  ago  on  a  fortnight's  visit  to  an 
English  lady,  never  once  troubled  his  basins  and  jugs  ;  he  simply 
rubbed  his  face  occasionally  with  the  white  of  an  e^^,  which,  as 
Madame  Daunoy  records,  was  the  only  ablution  of  the  Spanish 
ladies  in  the  time  of  Philip  IV.  ;  but  these  details  of  the  dressing- 
room  are  foreign  to  the  use  made  in  Spain  of  liquids  in  kitchen 
and  parlour. 

One  word  on  chocolate,  which  is  to  a  Spaniard  m  hat  tea  is  to 
a  Briton — coffee  to  a  Gaul.  It  is  to  be  had  almost  everywhere, 
and  is  always  excellent ;  the  best  is  made  by  the  nuns,  who  are 
great  confectioners  and  compounders  of  sweetmeats,  sugarplums 
and  orange-flowers,  water  and  comfits, 

"  Et  tous  ces  mets  sucres  en  pate,  ou  bien  liquides, 
Dont  estomacs  de'vots  furent  toujours  avides." 

It  was  long  a  disputed  point  whether  chocolate  did  or  did  not 


break  fast  theologically,  just  as  happened  with  coffee  among  the 
rigid  Moslems.  But  since  the  learned  Escobar  decided  that 
liquidum  non  rumpit  jejunium,  a  liquid  does  not  break  fast,  it  has 
become  the  universal  breakfast  of  Spain.  It  is  made  just  liquid 
enough  to  come  within  the  benefit  of  clergy,  that  is,  a  spoon  will 
almost  stand  up  in  it ;  only  a  small  cup  is  taken,  una  jicara,  a 
Mexican  word  for  the  cocoa-nuts  of  which  they  were  first  made, 
generally  with  a  bit  of  toasted  bread  or  biscuit :  as  these  jicaras 
have  seldom  any  handles,  they  were  used  by  the  rich  (as  coffee- 
cups  are  among  the  Orientals)  enclosed  in  little  filigree  cases  of 
silver  or  gold  ;  some  of  these  are  very  beautiful,  made  in  the 
form  of  a  tulip  or  lotus  leaf,  on  a  saucer  of  mother-o'-pearl. 
The  flower  is  so  contrived  that,  by  a  spring  underneath,  on 
raising  the  saucer,  the  leaves  fall  back  and  disclose  the  cup  to 
the  lips,  while,  when  put  down,  they  re-close  over  it,  and  form  a 
protection  against  the  flies.  A  glass  of  water  should  always  be 
drunk  after  this  chocolate,  since  the  aqueous  chasse  neutralizes 
the  bilious  propensities  of  this  breakfast  of  the  gods,  as  Linnaeus 
called  chocolate.  Tea  and  coffee  have  supplanted  chocolate  in 
England  and  France ;  it  is  in  Spain  alone  that  we  are  carried 
back  to  the  breakfasts  of  Belinda  and  of  the  wits  at  Button's  ; 
in  Spain  exist,  unchanged,  the  fans,  the  game  of  ombre,  tresillo, 
and  the  coche  dc  colleras,  the  coach  and  six,  and  other  social 
usages  of  the  age  of  Pope  and  the  '  Spectator.' 

Cold  liquids  in  the  hot  dry  summers  of  Spain  are  necessaries 
not  luxuries ;  snow  and  iced  drinks  are  sold  in  the  streets  at 
prices  so  low  as  to  be  within  the  reach  of  the  poorest  classes  ;  the 
rich  refrigerate  themselves  with  agraz.  This,  the  Moorish 
Hacaraz,  is  the  most  delicious  and  most  refreshing  drink  ever 
devised  by  thirsty  mortal  ;  it  is  the  new  pleasure  for  which 
Xerxes  wished  in  vain,  and  beats  the  "  hock  and  soda  water," 
the  "  hoc  erat  in  votis"  of  Byron,  and  sherry  cobler  itself.  It  is 
made  of  pounded  unripe  grapes,  clarified  sugar,  and  water ;  it  is 
strained  till  it  becomes  of  the  palest  straw-coloured  amber,  and 
well  iced.  It  is  particularly  well  made  in  Andalucia,  and  it  is 
worth  going  there  in  the  dog-days,  if  only  to  drink  it — it  cools  a 
man's  body  and  soul.  At  Madrid  an  agreeable  drink  is  sold  in 
the  streets ;  it  is  called  Michi  Michi,  from  the  Valencian  Mitj  e 
Mitj,  "  half  and  half,"  and  is  as  unlike  the  heavy  wet  mixture  of 

144  ICED  LEMONADE.  [chap.  xii. 

London,  as  a  coal-porter  is  to  a  pretty  fair  Valenciana.  It  is 
made  of  equal  portions  of  barley-water  and  orgeat  of  Chvfas, 
and  is  highly  iced.  The  Spaniards,  among  other  cooling  fruits, 
eat  their  strawberries  mixed  with  sugar  and  the  juice  of  oranges, 
which  will  be  found  a  more  agreeable  addition  than  the  wine 
used  by  the  French,  or  the  cream  of  the  English, — the  one  heats, 
and  the  other,  whenever  it  is  to  be  had,  makes  a  man  bilious  in 
Spain.  Spanish  ices,  he/ados,  are  apt  to  be  too  sweet,  nor  is  the 
sugar  well  refined  ;  the  ices,  when  frozen  very  hard  and  in  small 
forms,  either  representing  fruits  or  shells,  are  called  quesos, 

Another  favourite  drink  is  a  weak  bottled  beer  mixed  with  iced 
lemonade.  Spaniards,  however,  are  no  great  drinkers  of  beer, 
notwithstanding  that  their  ancestors  drank  more  of  it  than  wine, 
which  was  not  then  either  so  plentiful  or  imiversal  as  at  the  pre- 
sent ;  this  substitute  cf  grapeless  countries  passed  from  the 
Egyptians  and  Carthaginians  into  Spain,  where  it  was  excellent, 
and  kept  well.  The  vinous  Roman  soldiers  derided  the  beer- 
drinking  Iberians,  just  as  the  French  did  the  English  before  the 
battle  of  Agincourt.  "  Can  sodden  water — barley-broth — decoct 
their  cold  blood  to  such  valiant  heat?"  Polybius  sneers  at  the 
magnificence  of  a  Spanish  king,  because  his  home  was  furnished 
with  silver  and  gold  vases  full  of  beer,  of  barley-wine.  The 
genuine  Goths,  as  happens  everywhere  to  this  day,  were  great 
swillers  of  ale  and  beer,  heady  and  stupifying  mixtures,  accord- 
ing to  Aristotle.  Their  archbishop,  St.  Isidore,  distinguished 
between  celia  ceria,  the  ale,  and  cerhisia,  beer,  whence  the  pre- 
sent word  cerheza  is  derived.  Spanish  beer,  like  many  other 
Spanish  matters,  has  now  become  small.  Strong  English  beer 
is  rare  and  dear ;  among  one  of  the  infinite  ingenious  absurdities 
of  Spanisli  customs'  law,  English  beer  in  barrels  used  to  be  pro- 
hibited,  as  were  English  bottles  if  empty — but  jiroliibited  beer,  in 
prohibited  bottles,  was  admissible,  on  the  principle  that  two  fiscal 
negatives  made  an  exchequer  afllirmative. 

CHAP,  xiii.l  WINES  OF  SPAIN.  HE 


Spanish  Wines — Spanish   Indifference — Wine-making — Vins    du   Pays  — 
Local  Wines — Benicarlo — Valdepenas. 

The  wines  of  Spain  deserve  a  chapter  to  tliemselves.  Sherry 
indeed  is  not  less  popular  among  us  than  Murillo,  in  spite  of  the 
numbers  of  bad  copies  of  the  one,  which  are  passed  off  for  un- 
doubted originals,  and  butts  of  the  other,  which  are  sold  neat  as 
imported.  The  Spaniard  himself  is  neither  curious  in  port,  nor 
particular  in  Madeira  ;  he  prefers  quantity  to  quality,  and  loves 
flavour  much  less  tiian  he  hates  trouble  ;  a  cellar  in  a  private 
house,  of  rare  fine  or  foreign  wines,  is  perhaps  a  greater  curiosity 
tlian  a  library  of  ditto  books ;  an  hidalgo  with  twenty  names 
simply  sends  out  before  his  frugal  meal  for  a  quart  of  wine  to 
the  nearest  shop,  as  a  small  burgess  does  in  the  City  for  a  pint 
of  porter.  Local  in  every  thing,  the  Spaniard  takes  the  goods 
that  the  gods  provide  him,  just  as  they  come  to  hand  ;  lie  drinks 
the  wine  that  grows  in  the  nearest  vineyards,  and  if  there  are 
none,  then  regales  himself  with  the  water  from  the  least  distant 
spring.  It  is  so  in  everytliing  ;  he  adds  the  smallest  possible 
exertion  of  his  own  to  the  bounties  of  nature  ;  his  object  is  to 
obtain  the  largest  produce  for  the  smallest  labour  ;  he  allows  a 
life-conferring  sun  and  a  fertile  soil  to  create  for  him  the  raw 
material,  which  he  exports,  being  perfectly  contented  that  the 
foreigner  should  return  it  to  him  when  recreated  by  art  and 
industry;  thus  his  wool,  barilla,  hides,  and  cork -bark,  are  im- 
ported by  him  back  again  in  the  form  of  cloth,  glass,  leather, 
and  bungs. 

The  most  celebrated  and  perfect  wines  of  the  Peninsula  are 
port  and  sherry,  which  owe  their  excellence  to  foreign,  not  to 
native  skill,  the  principal  growers  and  makers  being  Europeans, 
and  their  system  altogether  un-Spanish  ;  notiiing  can  be  more 
rude,  antique,  and  unscientific,  than  the  wine-making  in  those 

146  WINES  OF  SPAIN.  [chap.  xm. 

localities  where  no  stranger  has  ever  settled.  But  Spain  is  a 
land  bottled  up  for  antiquarians,  and  it  must  be  confessed  that 
the  national  process  is  very  picturesque  and  classical ;  no 
Ariadne  revel  of  Titian  is  more  glittering  or  animated,  no  bas- 
relief  more  classical  in  which  sacrifices  are  celebrated 
"  To  Bacchus,  who  first  from  out  the  purple  grape 
Crushed  the  sweet  poison  of  misused  wine." 

Often  have  we  ridden  through  villages  redolent  with  vinous 
aroma,  and  inundated  witli  the  blood  of  the  berry,  until  the  very- 
mud  was  encarnadined  ;  what  a  busy  scene  !  Donkeys  laden  with 
panniers  of  the  ripe  fruit,  damsels  bending  under  heavy  baskets, 
men  with  reddened  legs  and  arms,  joyous  and  jovial  as  satyrs, 
hurry  jostling  on  to  the  rude  and  dirty  vat,  into  which  the  fruit 
is  thrown  indiscriminately,  the  black-coloured  with  the  white 
ones,  the  ripe  bunches  with  the  sour,  the  sound  berries  with 
those  decayed  ;  no  pains  are  taken,  no  selection  is  made ;  the 
filth  and  negligence  are  commensurate  with  this  carelessness  ;  the 
husks  are  either  trampled  under  naked  feet  or  pressed  out  under 
a  rude  beam  ;  in  botli  cases  every  refining  operation  is  left  to 
the  fermentation  of  nature,  for  there  is  a  divinity  that  shapes  our 
ends,  rough  hew  them  how  we  may. 

The  wines  of  Spain,  under  a  latitude  where  a  fine  season  is  a 
certainty,  might  rival  those  of  France,  and  still  more  those  of 
the  Rhine,  where  a  good  vintage  is  the  exception,  not  the  rule. 
Their  varieties  are  infinite,  since  few  districts,  unless  those  that 
are  very  elevated,  are  without  their  local  produce,  the  names, 
colours,  and  flavours  of  which  are  equally  numerous  and  varied. 
The  thirsty  traveller,  after  a  long  day's  ride  under  a  burning 
sun,  when  seated  quietly  down  to  a  smoking  peppery  dish,  is 
enchanted  with  the  cool  draught  of  these  vins  du  pays,  which 
are  brought  fresh  to  him  from  the  skins  or  amphora  jars ;  he 
longs  to  transport  the  apparently  divine  nectar  to  his  own  home, 
and  wonders  that  "  the  trade  "  should  have  overlooked  such  de- 
licious wine.  Those  who  have  tried  the  experiment  will  find  a 
sad  change  for  the  worse  come  over  the  spirit  of  their  dream,  when 
the  long-expected  importation  greets  their  papillatory  organs  in 
London.  There  the  illusion  is  dispelled ;  there  to  a  cloyed 
fastidious  taste,  to  a  judgment  bewildered  and  frittered  away  by 
variety  of  the  best  vintages,  how  flat,  stale,  and  unprofitable 

CHAP,  xm.]  VALDEPENAS.  147 

does  this  much-fancied  beverage  appear !  The  truth  is,  that  its 
merit  consists  in  the  thirst  and  drinking  vein  of  the  traveller 
rather  than  in  the  wine  itself.  Those  therefore  of  our  readers 
whose  cellars  are  only  stocked  with  choice  Bordeaux,  Xerez, 
and  Champagne,  may  sustain  with  resignation  the  absence  of 
other  sorts  of  Spanish  grape  juice.  If  an  exception  is  to  be 
made,  let  it  be  only  in  favour  of  Valdepenas  and  Manzanilla. 

The  local  wines  may  therefore  be  tossed  off  rapidly.  The 
Navarrese  drink  their  Peralta,  the  Basques  their  Chacolet,  which 
is  a  poor  vin  ordinaire  and  inferior  to  our  good  cider.  The 
Arragonese  are  supplied  from  the  vineyards  of  Carinena ;  the 
Catalans,  from  those  of  Sidges  and  Benicarlo  ;  the  former  is  a 
rich  sweet  wine,  with  a  peculiar  aromatic  flavour  ;  the  latter  is 
the  well-known  black  strap,  which  is  exported  largely  to  Bor- 
deaux to  enrich  clarets  for  our  vitiated  taste,  and  as  it  is  rich 
red,  and  full  flavoured,  much  comes  to  England  to  concoct  what 
is  denominated  curious  old  port  by  those  who  sell  it.  The  fiery 
and  acrid  brandy  which  is  made  from  this  Benicarlo  is  sent  to 
the  bay  of  Cadiz  to  the  tune  of  1000  butts  a  year  to  doctor  up 
worse  slierry. 

The  central  provinces  of  Spain  consume  but  little  of  these  ; 
Leon  has  a  wine  of  its  own  which  grows  chiefly  near  Zamora 
and  Toro,  and  it  is  much  drunk  at  the  neighbouring  and  learned 
university  of  Salamanca,  where,  as  it  is  strong  and  heady,  it  pro- 
motes prejudice,  as  port  is  said  to  do  elsewhere.  Madrid  is 
supplied  with  wines  grown  at  Tarancon,  Arganda,  and  other 
places  in  its  immediate  vicinity,  and  those  of  the  latter  are  fre- 
quently substituted  for  the  celebrated  Valdepenas  of  La  Mancha, 
which  was  mother's  milk  to  Sancho  Panza  and  his  two  eminent 
progenitors  ;  they  differed,  as  their  worthy  descendant  informed 
the  Knight  of  the  "Wood,  on  the  merits  of  a  cask ;  one  of  them 
just  dipped  his  tongue  into  the  wine,  and  affirmed  that  it  had  a 
taste  of  iron ;  the  other  merely  applied  his  nose  to  the  bung- 
hole,  and  was  positive  that  it  smacked  of  leather ;  in  due  time 
when  the  barrel  was  emptied,  a  key  tied  to  a  thong  confirmed 
the  degustatory  acumen  of  these  connoisseurs. 

The  red  blood  of  this  "  valley  of  stones"  issues  with  such 
abundance,  that  quantities  of  old  wine  are  often  thrown  away,  for 
the  want  of  skins,  jars,  and  casks  into  which   to  place  the  new. 

J.  2 

148  THE  BEST  VINEYARDS.  [chap.  xin. 

From  the  scarcity  of  fuel  in  these  denuded  plains,  the  prunings 
of  the  vine  are  sometimes  as  valuable  as  the  grapes.  Even  at 
Valdepenas,  with  Madrid  for  its  customer,  the  wine  continues  to 
be  made  in  an  unscientific,  careless  manner.  Before  the  French 
invasion,  a  Dutchman,  named  Muller,  had  begun  to  improve  the 
system,  and  better  prices  were  obtained ;  whereupon  the  lower 
classes,  in  1808,  broke  open  his  cellars,  pillaged  them,  and 
nearly  killed  him  because  he  made  wine  dearer.  It  is  made  of 
a  Burgundy  grape  which  has  been  transplanted  and  transported 
from  the  stinted  suns  of  fickle  France,  to  the  certain  and  glorious 
summers  of  La  Mancha.  The  genuine  wdne  is  rich,  full-bodied, 
and  high-coloured.  It  will  keep  pretty  well,  and  improves  for 
four  or  five  years,  nay,  longer.  To  be  really  enjoyed  it  must 
be  drunk  on  the  spot  ;  the  curious  in  wine  should  go  down  into 
one  of  the  cuevas  or  cave-cellars,  and  have  a  goblet  of  the  ruby 
fluid  drawn  from  the  big-bellied  jar.  The  wine,  when  taken  to 
distant  places,  is  almost  always  adulterated  ;  and  at  Madrid  with 
a  decoction  of  log-wood,  which  makes  it  almost  poisonous,  acting 
upon  the  nerves  and  muscular  system. 

The  best  vineyards  and  bodegas  or  cellars  are  those  which  did 
belong  to  Don  Carlos,  and  those  wliich  do  belong  to  the  Marques 
de  Santa  Cruz.  One  anecdote  will  do  the  work  of  pages  in 
setting  fortli  the  habitual  indifference  of  Spaniards,  and  the  way 
things  are  managed  for  them.  This  very  nobleman,  who  cer- 
taiuly  was  one  of  the  most  distinguislied  among  tlie  grandees  in 
rank  and  talent,  was  dining  one  day  with  a  foreign  ambassador 
at  Madrid,  who  was  a  decided  admirer  of  Valdepeiias,  as  all 
judicious  men  must  be,  and  who  took  great  pains  to  procure  it 
quite  pure  by  sending  down  trusty  persons  and  sound  casks.  The 
Marques  at  the  first  glass  exclaimed,  "  What  capital  wine ! 
where  do  you  manage  to  buy  it  in  Madrid  ?"  "  I  send  for  it," 
was  the  reply,  "  to  your  administrador  at  Valdepeilas,  Anglice 
unjust  steward,  and  shall  be  very  happy  to  get  you  some." 

The  wine  is  worth  on  the  spot  about  5/.  the  pipe,  but  the  land 
carriage  is  expensive,  and  it  is  apt,  when  conveyed  in  skins,  to 
be  tapped  and  watered  by  the  muleteers,  besides  imbibing  the 
disagreeable  smack  of  the  pitched  pigskin.  The  only  way  to 
secure  a  pure,  unadulterated,  legitimate  article,  is  to  send  up 
double  quarter  sherry  casks ;  the  wine  is  then  put  into  one,  and 

CHAP.  xra.J  VALDEPENAS.  149 

that  again  is  protected  by  an  outer  cask,  which  acts  as  a  pre- 
ventive guard,  against  gimlets,  straws,  and  other  ingenious  con- 
trivances for  extracting  the  vinous  contents,  and  for  introducing 
an  aqueous  substitute.  It  must  then  be  conveyed  either  on 
mules  or  in  waggons  to  Cadiz  and  Santander.  It  is  always  as 
well  to  send  for  two  casks,  as  accidents  in  this  pays  de  Vimprevu 
constantly  happen  where  wine  and  women  are  in  the  case.  The 
importer  will  receive  the  most  satisfactory  certificates  signed  and 
sealed  on  paper,  first  duly  stamped,  in  which  the  alcalde,  the 
nmleteer,  the  guardia,  and  all  who  have  shared  in  the  booty,  will 
minutely  describe  and  prove  the  accident,  be  it  an  upset,  a 
breaking  of  casks,  or  what  not.  Very  little  pure  Valdepenas 
ever  reaches  England ;  the  numerous  vendors'  bold  asser- 
tions to  the  contrary  notwithstanding.  As  sherry  is  a  subject 
of  more  general  interest,  it  will  be  treated  with  somewhat  more 

150  SHERRY.  [chap,  xiv 


Sherry  Wines — The  Sherry  District — Origin  of  the  Name — Varieties  of 
Soil — Of  Grapes — Pajarete — Rojas  Clemente — Cultivation  of  Vines — 
Best  Vineyards — The  Vintage — Amontillado — The  Capataz — The  Bo- 
dega— Sherry  Wine — Arrope  and  Madre  Vino — A  Lecture  on  Sherry  in 
the  Cellar — at  the  Table — Price  of  Fine  Sherry — Falsification  of  Sherry 
— Manzanilla — The  Alpistera, 

Sherry,  a  wine  which  requires  more  explanation  tiian  many  of 
its  consumers  imagine,  is  grown  in  a  limited  nook  of  the  Penin- 
sula, on  the  south-western  corner  of  sunny  Andalucia,  which 
occupies  a  range  of  country  of  which  the  town  of  Xerez  is  the 
capital  and  centre.  The  wine-producing  districts  extend  over  a 
space  which  is  included — consult  a  map — within  a  boundary 
drawn  from  the  towns  of  Puerto  de  S"*-  Maria,  Rota,  San  Lucar, 
Tribujena,  Lebrija,  Arcos,  and  to  the  Puerto  again.  The  finest 
vintages  lie  in  the  immediate  vicinity  of  Xerez,  which  has  given 
therefore  its  name  to  tlie  general  produce.  The  wine,  however, 
becomes  inferior  in  proportion  as  the  vineyards  get  more  distant 
from  this  central  point. 

Although  some  authors — who,  to  show  their  learning,  hunt 
for  Greek  etymologies  in  every  word — have  derived  sherry  from 
Sr/poc,  dry,  to  have  done  so  from  the  Persian  Schiraz  would 
scarcely  have  been  more  far-fetched.  Sliei'ris  sack,  the  term 
used  by  Falstaff,  no  mean  authority  in  this  matter,  is  the  precise 
seco  de  Xerez,  the  term  by  which  the  wine  is  known  to  this  day 
in  its  own  country  ;  the  epithet  seco,  or  dry — the  seek  of  old 
English  authors,  and  the  sec  of  French  ones — being  used  in 
contradistinction  to  the  sweet  malvoisies  and  muscadels,  Avhich 
are  also  made  of  the  same  grape.  The  wine,  it  is  said,  was  first 
introduced  into  England  about  the  time  of  Henry  VII.,  whose 
close  alliance  with  Ferdinand  and  Isabella  was  cemented  by  the 
marriage  of  his  son  with  their  daughter.  It  became  still  more 
popular  among  us  under  Elizabeth,  when  those  who  sailed  under 


Essex  sacked  Cadiz  in  1596,  and  brought  home  the  fashion  of 
g-ood  "  sherris  sack,  from  whence,"  as  Sir  John  says,  "  comes 
valour."  The  visit  to  Spain  of  Charles  I.  contributed  to  keep- 
ing up  among  his  countrymen  this  taste  for  the  drinks  of  the 
Peninsula,  which  extended  into  the  provinces,  as  we  find  liowell 
writing  from  York,  in  1645,  for  "a  barrel!  or  two  of  oysters, 
which  shall  be  well  eaten,"  as  he  assures  his  friend,  "  with  a  cup 
of  the  best  sherry,  to  which  this  town  is  altogether  addicted." 
During  the  wars  of  the  succession,  and  those  fatal  quarrels  with 
England  occasioned  by  the  French  alliance  and  family  compact  of 
Charles  III.,  our  consumption  of  sherries  was  much  diminished, 
and  the  culture  of  the  vine  and  the  wine-making  was  neglected 
and  deteriorated.  It  was  restored  at  the  end  of  last  century  by 
the  family  of  Gordon,  whose  houses  at  Xerez  and  the  Puerto 
most  deservedly  rank  among  the  first  in  the  country.  The 
improved  quality  of  the  wines  was  their  own  recommendation  ; 
but  as  fashion  influences  everything,  their  vogne  was  finally  esta- 
blished by  Lord  Holland,  who,  on  his  return  from  Spain,  intro- 
duced superlative  sherry  at  his  undeniable  table. 

The  quality  of  the  wine  depends  on  the  grape  and  the  soil, 
which  has  been  examined  and  analysed  by  competent  chemists. 
Omitting  minute  and  uninteresting  particulars,  tlie  first  class  and 
the  best  is  termed  the  Albariza  ;  this  whitish  soil  is  composed  of 
clay  mixed  with  carbonate  of  lime  and  silex.  The  second  sort 
is  called  Barras,  and  consists  of  sandy  quartz,  mixed  with  lime 
and  oxide  of  iron.  The  third  is  the  Arenas,  being,  as  the  name 
indicates,  little  better  than  sand,  and  is  by  far  the  most  widely 
extended,  especially  about  San  Lucar,  Rota,  and  the  back  of 
Arcos  ;  it  is  the  most  productive,  although  the  wine  is  gene- 
rally coarse,  thin,  and  ill-flavoured,  and  seldom  improves  after 
the  third  year  :  it  forms  the  substratum  of  those  inferior  sherries 
which  are  largely  exported  to  the  discredit  of  tiie  real  article. 
The  fourth  class  of  soil  is  limited  in  extent,  and  is  the  Bugeo, 
or  dark-brown  loamy  sand  which  occurs  on  the  sides  of  rivulets 
and  hillocks.  The  wine  grown  on  it  is  poor  and  weak  ;  yet  all 
the  inferior  produces  of  these  different  districts  are  sold  as  sherry 
wines,  to  the  great  detriment  of  those  really  produced  near  Xerez 
itself,  which  do  not  amount  to  a  fifth  of  the  quantity  exported. 

The  varieties  of  the  grape  are  far  greater  than  those  of  the  soil 

152  VINES  OF  ANDALUCIA.  [chap.  xiy. 

on  which  they  are  grown.  Of  more  than  a  hundred  different 
kinds,  those  called  Listaii  and  Palomina  Blanca  are  the  best. 
The  increased  demand  for  sherry,  where  the  jiroducing  surface 
is  limited,  has  led  to  the  extirpation  of  many  vines  of  an  inferior 
kind,  which  have  been  replaced  by  new  ones  whose  produce  is  of 
a  larger  and  better  quality.  The  Pedro  Ximenez^  or  delicious 
sweet-tasted  grape  which  is  so  celebrated,  came  originally  from 
Madeira,  and  was  planted  on  the  Rhine,  from  whence  about  two 
centuries  ago  one  Peter  Simon  brought  it  to  Malaga,  since  when 
it  has  extended  over  the  south  of  Spain.  It  is  of  this  grape  that 
the  rich  and  luscious  sweet  wine  called  Pajarete  is  made ;  a 
name  which  some  have  erroneously  derived  from  Pajaros,  the 
birds,  who  are  wont  to  pick  the  ripest  berries  ;  but  it  was  so 
called  from  the  wine  having  been  originally  only  made  at 
Paxarete,  a  small  spot  near  Xerez :  it  is  now  prepared  every- 
where, and  thus  the  grapes  are  dried  in  the  sun  until  they 
almost  become  raisins,  and  the  syrop  quite  inspissated,  after  that 
they  are  pressed,  and  a  little  fine  old  wine  and  brandy  is  added. 
This  wine  is  extremely  costly,  as  it  is  much  used  in  the  rearing 
and  maturation  of  young  sherry  wines. 

There  is  an  excellent  account  of  all  the  vines  of  Andalucia  by 
Rojas  Clemente.  This  able  naturalist  disgraced  himself  by  being 
a  base  toady  of  the  wretched  minion  Godoy,  and  by  French 
partisanship,  which  is  high  treason  to  his  own  country.  Accord- 
ingly, to  please  his  masters,  he  "  contrasts  the  frank  generosity, 
the  vivacity,  and  genial  cordiality  of  the  Xerezanos,  with  the 
sombre  stupidity  and  ferocious  egotism  of  the  insolent  people  on 
the  banks  of  tlie  Thames,"  by  whom  he  had  just  before  been 
most  hospitably  welcomed.  This  worthy  gentleman  wrote,  how- 
ever, within  sight  of  Trafalgar,  and  while  a  certain  untoward 
event  was  rankling  in  his  and  his  estimable  patron's  bosom. 

The  vines  are  cultivated  with  the  greatest  care,  and  demand 
unceasing  attention,  from  the  first  planting  to  their  final  decay. 
They  generally  fruit  about  the  fifth  year,  and  continue  in  full 
and  excellent  bearing  for  about  thirty-five  years  more,  when  the 
produce  begins  to  diminish  both  in  quantity  and  in  quality.  The 
best  wines  are  produced  from  the  slowest  ripening  grapes ;  the 
vines  are  delicate,  have  a  true  baccliic  hydrophobia,  or  antipathy 
to  water — are  easily  affected  and  injured  by  bad  smells  and  rank 


weeds.  Tiie  vine-dresser  enjoys  little  rest ;  at  one  time  the  soil 
must  be  trenclied  and  kept  clean,  then  the  vines  must  be  pruned, 
and  tied  to  the  stakes,  to  which  they  are  trained  very  low  ;  anon 
insects  must  be  destroyed  ;  and  at  last  the  fruit  has  to  be  gathered 
and  crushed.  It  is  a  life  of  constant  care,  labour,  and  ex- 

The  highest  qualities  of  flavour  depend  on  the  grape  and  soil, 
and  as  the  favoured  spots  are  limited,  and  the  struggle  and  com- 
petition for  their  acquisition  great,  the  prices  paid  are  always 
high,  and  occasionally  extravagantly  so  ;  the  proprietors  of  vine- 
yards are  very  numerous,  and  the  surface  is  split  and  partitioned 
into  infinite  petty  ownerships.  Even  the  Pago  de  Machar7iudo, 
the  finest  of  all,  the  Clos  de  Vougeot,  the  Johannisberg  of  Xerez, 
is  much  subdivided  ;  it  consists  of  1200  aranzadas,  one  of  which 
may  be  taken  as  equivalent  to  our  acre,  being,  however,  that 
quantity  of  land  which  can  be  ploughed  with  a  pair  of  bullocks 
in  a  day — of  these  1200,  460  belong  to  the  great  house  of  Pedro 
Domecq,  and  their  mean  produce  may  be  taken  at  1895  butts,  of 
which  some  350  only  will  run  very  fine.  Among  the  next  most 
renowned  jjagos,  or  wine  districts,  may  be  cited  Carrascal,  Los 
Tercios,  Barbiana  alta  y  baja,  Ariina,  San  Julian,  Mochiele, 
Carraola,  Cruz  del  Husillo,  which  lie  in  the  immediate  termino 
or  boundary  of  Xerez  ;  their  produce  always  ensures  high  prices 
in  the  market.  Many  of  these  vineyards  are  fenced  with  canes, 
the  arundo  donax,  or  with  aloes,  whose  stiflf-pointed  leaves  form 
palisadoes  that  would  defy  a  regiment  of  dragoons,  and  are  called 
by  tlie  natives  the  devil's  toothpicks ;  in  addition,  the  capataz 
del  campo,  or  country  bailiff",  is  provided,  like  a  keeper,  with 
large  and  ferocious  dogs,  who  would  tear  an  intruder  to  pieces. 
The  fruit  when  nearly  mature  is  especially  watched  ;  for,  accord- 
ing to  the  proverb,  it  requires  much  vigilance  to  take  care  of 
ripe  grapes  and  maidens— iV/^cM  y  vinas,  son  mal  de  guardar. 

When  the  period  of  the  vintage  arrives,  the  cares  of  the  pro- 
prietors and  the  labours  of  the  cultivators  and  makers  increase. 
The  bunches  are  picked  and  spread  out  for  some  days  on 
mattings;  the  unripe  grapes,  which  have  less  substance  and 
spirit,  are  separated,  and  are  exposed  longer  to  the  sun,  by  which 
they  improve.  If  the  berries  be  over-ripe,  then  the  saccharine 
prevails,  and  there  is  a  deficiency  of  tartaric  acid.     The  selected 

154  THE  VINTAGE.  [chap.  xiv. 

grapes  are  sprinkled  with  lime,  by  which  tlie  watery  and  acetous 
particles  are  absorbed  and  corrected.  A  nice  hand  is  requisite 
in  this  powdering,  w^hich,  by  the  way,  is  an  ancient  African 
custom,  in  order  to  avoid  the  imputation  of  Falstaff,  "  There  is 
lime  in  this  sack."  The  treading  out  the  fruit  is  generally 
done  by  night,  because  it  is  then  cooler,  and  in  order  to  avoid 
as  much  as  possible  the  plague  of  wasps,  by  whom  the  half- 
naked  operators  are  liable  to  be  stung.  On  the  larger  vineyards 
there  is  generally  a  jumble  of  buildings,  which  contain  every 
requisite  for  making  the  wine,  as  well  as  cellars  into  which  the 
must  or  pressed  grape  juice  is  left  to  pass  the  stages  of  ferment- 
ation, and  wliere  it  remains  until  the  following  spring  before  it 
is  removed  from  the  lees.  When  the  new  wine  is  racked  off",  all 
the  produce  of  the  same  vineyard  and  vintage  is  housed  together, 
and  called  a  partido  or  lot. 

The  vintage,  whicli  is  the  all-absorbing,  all-engrossing  moment 
of  the  j'ear,  occupies  about  a  fortnight,  and  is  earlier  in  the 
Rota  districts  than  at  Xerez,  where  it  commences  about  the  20th 
of  September;  into  these  brief  moments  the  hearts,  bodies,  and 
souls  of  men  are  condensed  ;  even  Venus,  the  queen  of  neigh- 
bouring Cadiz,  and  who  during  the  other  three  hundred  and 
fifty-one  days  of  the  year,  allies  herself  willingly  to  Bacchus,  is 
now  forgotten.  Nobles  and  commoners,  merchants  and  priests, 
talk  of  nothing  but  wine,  which  then  and  there  monopolises  man, 
and  is  to  Xerez  wliat  the  water  is  at  Grand  Cairo,  where  the 
rising  of  the  Nile  is  at  once  a  pleasure  and  a  profit.  When  the 
vintage  is  concluded,  the  custom-house  officers  take  note  in 
their  respective  districts  of  the  quantity  produced  on  each  vine- 
yard, to  whom  it  is  sold,  and  where  it  is  taken  to ;  nor  can  it  be 
resold  or  removed  afterwards,  without  a  permit  and  a  charge  of  a 
four  per  cent,  ad  valorem  duty.  It  need  not  be  said,  that  in  a 
land  where  public  officers  are  inadequately  paid,  where  official 
honesty  and  principle  are  all  but  unknown,  a  bribe  is  all-sufficient ; 
false  returns  are  regularly  made,  and  every  trick  resorted  to  to 
facilitate  trade,  and  transfer  revenue  into  the  pockets  of  the  col- 
lectors, rather  than  into  the  Queen's  treasury ;  thus  are  defeated 
the  vexations  and  extortions  of  commerce-hampering  excise,  to 
hate  which  seems  to  be  a  second  nature  in  man  all  over  the  world. 
Commissioners  excepted.     In  the  first  year  a  decided  difference 


takes  place  in  these  new  wines  ;  some  become  bastos  or  coarse, 
others  sour  and  others  good ;  those  only  which  exhibit  great 
delicacy,  body,  and  flavour  are  called  Jinos  or  fine  ;  in  a  lot  of 
one  hundred  butts,  rarely  more  than  from  ten  to  fifteen  can  be 
calculated  as  deserving  this  epithet,  and  it  is  to  the  high  price 
paid  for  these  by  the  almacenistas  or  storers  of  wines,  that  the 
grower  looks  for  remuneration  ;  the  qualities  of  the  wines  usually 
produced  in  each  particular  termino  or  district  do  not  vary  much  ; 
they  have  their  regular  character  and  prices  among  the  trade,  by 
whom  they  are  perfectly  understood  and  exactly  valued. 

These  singular  changes  in  the  juice  of  grapes  grown  on  the 
same  vineyard,  invariably  take  place,  although  no  satisfactory 
reason  has  been  yet  assigned  ;  the  chemical  processes  of  nature 
have  hitherto  defied  the  investigations  of  man,  and  in  nothing 
more  than  in  the  elaboration  of  that  lusus  naturae  vel  Bacchi, 
that  variety  of  flavour  which  goes  by  the  name  of  amontillado ; 
this  has  been  given  to  it  from  its  resemblance  in  dryness  and 
quality  to  the  wines  of  Montilla,  near  Cordova :  the  latter,  be  it 
observed,  are  scarcely  known  in  England  at  all,  nor  indeed  in 
Spain,  except  in  their  own  immediate  neighbourhood,  where 
they  supply  the  local  consumption.  This  amontillado,  when 
the  genuine  production  of  nature,  is  very  valuable,  as  it  is  used 
in  correcting  yovmg  Sherry  wines,  whicli  are  running  over  sweet ; 
it  is  very  scarce,  since  out  of  a  hundred  butts  of  vmojino,  not 
more  than  five  will  possess  its  properties.  Much  of  the  wine 
which  is  sold  in  London  as  pure  amontillado,  is  a  fictitious  pre- 
paration, and  made  up  for  the  British  market. 

All  sherries  are  a  matured  mixture  of  grape  juice  ;  champagne 
itselfis  a  manufactured  wine  ;  nor  does  it  much  matter,  provided  a 
palateable  and  wholesome  beverage  be  produced.  In  all  the  lead- 
ing and  respectable  houses,  the  wine  is  prepared  from  grapes  grown 
in  the  district,  nor  is  there  the  slightest  mystery  made  in  explaining 
the  artificial  processes  which  are  adopted  ;  the  rearing,  educating 
and  finishing,  as  it  were,  of  these  wines,  is  a  work  of  many  years, 
and  is  generally  intrusted  to  the  Capataz,  the  chief  butler,  or 
head  man,  who  very  often  becomes  the  real  master ;  this  import- 
ant personage  is  seldom  raised  in  Andalucia,  or  in  any  wine- 
growing districts  of  Spain  ;  he  generally  is  by  birth  an  Asturian, 
or  a  native  of  the  mountains  contiguous  to  Santander,    from 

156  THE  CAPATAZ.  [chap.  xiv. 

whence  the  chandlers  and  grocers,  hence  called  Los  Montaiieses, 
are  supplied  throughout  the  Peninsula.  These  Highlanders 
are  celebrated  for  the  length  of  their  pedigrees,  and  the  tasting 
properties  of  their  tongues  ;  we  have  more  than  once  in  Estre- 
raadura  and  Leon  fallen  in  with  flights  of  these  ragged  gentry, 
wending,  Scotch-like,  to  the  south  in  search  of  fortune  ;  few  had 
shoes  or  shirts,  yet  almost  every  one  carried  his  family  parch- 
ment in  a  tin  case,  wherein  his  descent  from  Tubal — respectable, 
although  doubtful — was  proven  to  be  as  evident  as  the  sun  is  at 
noon  day. 

These  gentlemen  of  good  birth  and  better  taste  seldom  smoke, 
as  the  narcotic  stupifying  weed  deadens  papillatory  delicacy. 
Now  as  few  wine-masters  in  Spain  would  give  up  the  cigar  to 
gain  millions,  the  Capataz  soon  becomes  the  sole  possessor  of 
the  secrets  of  the  cellar  ;  and  as  no  merchants  possess  vineyards 
of  their  own  sufl[icient  to  supply  their  demand,  the  purchases  of 
new  wines  must  be  made  by  this  confidential  servant,  who  is 
thus  enabled  to  cheat  both  the  grower  and  his  own  employer, 
since  he  will  only  buy  of  those  who  give  him  the  largest  com- 
mission. Many  contrive  by  these  long  and  faithful  services  to 
amass  great  wealth  ;  thus  Juan  Sanchez,  the  Capataz  of  the  late 
Petro  Domecq,  died  recently  worth  300,000/.  Towards  his 
latter  end,  having  been  visited  by  his  confessor  and  some 
qualms  of  conscience,  he  bequeathed  his  fortune  to  pious  and 
charitable  uses,  but  the  bulk  was  forthwith  secured  by  his  at- 
torneys and  priests,  whose  charity  began  at  home. 

As  the  chancellor  is  the  keeper  of  the  Queen's  conscience,  so 
the  Capataz  is  the  keeper  of  tlie  hodega  or  the  wine-store, 
which  is  very  peculiar,  and  the  grand  lion  of  Xerez.  The  rich 
and  populous  town,  when  seen  from  afar,  rising  in  its  vine-clad 
knoll,  is  characterised  by  these  huge  erections,  that  look  like 
the  pent-houses  under  which  men-of-war  are  built  at  Chatham. 
These  temples  of  Bacchus  resemble  cathedrals  in  size  and  lofti- 
ness, and  their  divisions,  like  Spanish  chapels,  bear  the  names  of 
the  saints  to  whom  they  are  dedicated,  and  few  tutelar  deities 
have  more  numerous  or  more  devout  worshippers  ;  but  Romanism 
mixes  itself  up  in  everything  of  Spain,  and  fixes  its  mark  alike 
on  salt-pans  and  mine  shafts,  as  on  boats  and  bodegas.  These 
huge  repositories  are  all  above  ground,  and  are  the  antithesis  of 

CHAP,  xw.]  BODEGAS  OF  XEREZ.  157 


our  under-ground  cellars.  The  wines  of  Xerez  are  thus  found 
to  ripen  both  better  and  quicker,  as  one  year  in  a  bodega  inspires 
them  with  more  life  than  do  ten  years  of  burial.  As  these 
wines  are  more  capricious  in  the  development  of  their  character 
than  young  ladies  at  a  boarding-school,  the  greatest  care  is  taken 
in  the  selection  of  eligible  and  healthy  situations  for  their  educa- 
tion ;  the  neighbourhood  of  all  oflensive  drains  or  effluvia  is  care- 
fully avoided,  since  these  nuisances  are  sure  to  affect  the  delicately 
organised  fluids,  although  they  fail  to  damage  the  noses  of  those 
to  whose  charge  they  are  committed  ;  and  strange  to  say,  in  this 
land  of  contradictions,  Cologne  itself  is  scarcely  more  renowned 
for  its  twenty  and  odd  bad  smells  ascertained  by  Coleridge,  than 
is  this  same  tortuous,  dirty,  and  old-fashioned  Xerez.  Here,  as 
in  the  Rhenish  city,  all  the  sweets  are  bottled  up  for  exportation, 
all  the  stinks  kept  for  home  consumption.  The  new  bodegas  are 
consequently  erected  in  tlie  newer  portions  of  the  town,  in  dry  and 
open  places ;  connected  with  them  are  offices  and  workshops,  in 
which  everything  bearing  upon  the  wine  trade  is  manufactured, 
even  to  the  barrels  that  are  made  of  American  oak  staves.  The 
interior  of  the  bodega  is  kept  deliciously  cool  ;  the  glare  outside 
is  carefully  excluded,  wh.ile  a  free  circulation  of  air  is  admitted  ; 
an  even  temperature  is  very  essential,  and  one  at  an  average  of 
60  degrees  is  the  best  of  all.  There  are  more  than  a  thousand 
bodegas  registered  at  the  custom  house  for  the  Xerez  district ; 
the  largest  only  belong  to  the  first-rate  firms,  and  mostly  to 
Europeans,  that  is,  to  English  and  Frenchmen.  A  heavy  capital 
is  required,  much  patience  and  forethought,  qualities  which  do 
not  grow  on  these  or  on  any  hills  of  Spain.  This  necessity  will 
be  better  understood  when  it  is  said,  that  some  of  these  stores 
contain  from  one  to  four  thousand  butts,  and  that  few  really 
fine  sherries  are  sent  out  of  them  until  ten  or  twelve  years 
old.  Supposing,  therefore,  that  each  butt  averages  in  value  only 
25/.,  it  is  evident  how  much  time  and  investment  of  wealth  is 

Sherry  wine,  when  mature  and  perfect,  is  made  up  from  many 
butts.  The  "  entire,"  indeed,  is  the  result  of  Xerez  grapes,  but 
of  many  different  ages,  vintages,  and  varieties  of  flavour.  The 
contents  of  one  barrel  serve  to  correct  another  until  the  pro- 
posed standard  aggregate  is  produced  ;  and  to  such  a  certainty 

158  WINE-MIXING.  [chap,  xiv 

has  this  uniform  admixture  been  reduced,  that  houses  are  enabled 
to  supply  for  any  number  of  years  exactly  that  particular  colour, 
flavour,  body,  &c.,  wliich  particular  customers  demand.  This 
wine  improves  very  much  with  age,  gets  softer  and  more  aromatic, 
and  gains  both  body  and  aroma,  in  which  its  young  wines  are 
deficient.  Indeed,  so  great  is  the  change  in  all  respects,  that  one 
scarcely  can  believe  them  ever  to  have  been  the  same :  the  baby 
differs  not  more  from  the  man,  nor  the  oak  from  the  acorn. 

That  Capataz  has  attained  the  object  of  his  fondest  wishes, 
who  has  observed  in  his  compositions  the  poetical  principles  of 
Horace,  the  calUda  junctura,  the  onuie  tulit  jmnctum  qui  mis- 
cuit  utile  dulci ;  this  happy  and  skilful  junction  of  the  sweet  and 
solid,  should  unite  fulness  of  body,  an  oily,  nutty  flavour  and 
bouquet,  dryness,  absence  from  acidity,  strength,  durability, 
and  spirituosity.  Very  little  brandy  is  necessary,  as  the  vivifying 
power  of  the  imstinted  sun  of  Andalucia  imparts  sufficient  alcohol, 
which  ranges  from  20  to  23  per  cent,  in  fine  sherries,  and  only 
reaches  about  12  in  clarets  and  champagnes.  Fine  pure  sherry 
is  of  a  rich  brown  colour,  but  in  order  to  flatter  the  conventional 
tastes  of  some  English,  "  pale  old  sherry  "  must  be  had,  and 
colour  is  chemically  discharged  at  the  expense  of  delicate  aroma. 
Another  absurd  deference  to  British  prejudice,  is  the  sending 
sherries  to  the  East  Indies,  because  such  a  trip  is  found  some- 
times to  benefit  the  wines  of  Madeira.  This  is  not  only  expensive 
but  positively  injurious  to  the  juice  of  Xerez,  as  the  wine  returns 
diminished  in  quantity,  turbid,  sharp,  and  deteriorated  in  flavour, 
while  from  the  constant  fermentation  it  becomes  thinner  in  body 
and  more  spirituous.  The  real  secret  of  procuring  good  sherry  is 
to  pay  the  best  price  for  it  at  the  best  house,  and  then  to  keep  the 
purchase  for  many  years  in  a  good  cellar  before  it  is  drunk. 

To  return  to  the  Capataz.  This  head  master  passes  this  life 
of  probation  in  tasting.  He  goes  the  regular  round  of  his  butts, 
ascertaining  the  qualities,  merits,  and  demerits  of  each  pupil, 
which  he  notes  by  certain  marks  or  hieroglyphics.  He  corrects 
faults  as  he  goes  along,  making  a  memorandum  also  of  the  date 
and  remedy  applied,  and  thus  at  his  next  visit  he  is  enabled  to 
report  good  progress,  or  lament  the  contrary.  The  new  wines, 
after  the  fermentation  is  past,  are  commonly  enriched  with  an 
arrope,  or  sort  of  syrup,  which  is  found  very  much  to  encourage 


CHAP.  XIV.]  WINE  IN  CASK.  159 

them.  There  are  extensive  manufactories  of  this  cordial  at  San 
Lucar,  and  wherever  the  arenas.,  or  sandy  soil,  prevails.  The 
must,  or  new  grape  juice,  before  fermentation  has  commenced, 
is  boiled  slowly  down  to  the  fifrh  of  its  bulk.  It  must  simmer, 
and  requires  great  care  in  the  skimming  and  not  being  burnt. 
Of  this,  when  dissolved,  the  vi7io  de  color,  the  madre  v'mo,  or 
mother  wine,  is  made,  by  which  the  younger  ones  are  nourished 
as  by  mother's  milk.  Wlien  old,  this  balsamic  ingredient  becomes 
strong,  perfumed  as  an  essence,  and  very  precious,  and  is  worth 
from  three  to  five  hundred  guineas  a  butt ;  indeed  it  scarcely  ever 
will  be  sold  at  all.  All  the  principal  bodegas  have  certain  huge 
and  time-honoured  casks  which  contain  this  divine  ichor,  which 
inspires  ordinary  wines  with  generous  and  heroic  virtues ;  hence 
possibly  their  dedication  of  their  tuns  not  to  saints  and  saintesses, 
but  to  "NVellinsftons  and  Nelsons.  It  is  from  these  reservoirs 
that  distinguished  visitors  are  allowed  just  a  sip.  Such  a  com- 
pliment was  paid  to  Ferdinand  VII.  by  Pedro  Domecq,  and  the 
cask  to  this  day  bears  the  royal  name  of  its  assayer.  Whatever 
quantity  is  taken  out  of  one  of  these  for  the  benefit  of  younger 
wines,  is  replaced  by  a  similar  quantity  drawn  from  the  next 
oldest  cask  in  the  cellar. 

After  a  year  or  two  trial  of  the  new  wines,  it  is  ascertained  how 
they  will  eventually  turn  out ;  if  they  go  wrong,  they  are  expelled 
from  the  seminary,  and  shipped  off  to  the  leathern-tongued 
consumers  of  Hamburgh  or  Quebec,  at  about  15/.  per  butt.  All 
the  various  forms,  stages,  and  steps  of  education  are  readily  ex- 
plained in  the  great  establishments,  among  which  the  first  are  those 
of  Domecq  and  John  David  Gordon,  and  nothing  can  exceed  the 
cordial  hospitality  of  these  princely  merchants  ;  whoever  comes 
provided  with  a  letter  of  introduction  is  carried  off  bodily,  bags, 
baggage,  and  all,  to  their  houses,  which,  considering  the  iniquity 
of  Xerezan  inns,  is  a  satisfactory  move.  Then  and  there  the 
guest  is  initiated  into  the  secrets  of  trade,  and  is  handed  over  to 
the  Capataz,  who  delivers  an  explanatory  lecture  on  vinologj', 
which  is  illustrated,  like  those  of  Faraday,  by  experiments  : 
tasting  sherry  at  Xerez  has,  as  Senor  Clemente  would  say,  very 
little  in  common  with  the  commonplace  customs  of  the  London 
Docks.  Here  the  swarthy  professor,  dressed  somewhat  like 
Figaro  in  the  Barber  of  Seville,  is  followed  by  sundry  jacketed 

IGO  TASTING  WINE.  [chap.  xiv. 

and  sandalled  Ganymedes,  who  bear  glasses  on  waiters ;  the  lec- 
turer is  armed  with  a  long  stick,  to  the  end  of  which  is  tied  a  bit 
of  hollow  cane,  which  he  dips  into  each  butt ;  the  subject  is 
begun  at  the  beginning,  and  each  step  in  advance  is  explained  to 
the  listening  party  with  the  gravity  of  a  judicious  foreman  of  a 
jury :  the  sample  is  handed  round  and  tasted  by  all,  who,  if  they 
are  wise,  will  follow  the  example  of  their  leader  (on  whom  wine 
has  no  more  effect  than  on  a  glass),  by  never  swallowing  the  sips, 
but  only  permitting  the  tongue  to  agitate  it  in  the  mouth,  until 
the  exact  flavour  is  mastered  ;  every  cask  is  tried,  from  the  young 
wine  to  the  middle-aged,  from  the  mature  to  the  golden  ancient. 
Those  who  are  not  stupefied  by  the  fumes,  cannot  fail  to  come 
out  vastly  edified.  The  student  should  liold  hard  during  the 
first  trials,  for  the  best  wine  is  reserved  until  the  last.  He 
ascends,  if  he  does  not  tumble  off,  a  vinous  ladder  of  excellence. 
It  would  be  better  to  reverse  the  order  of  the  course,  and  com- 
mence with  the  finest  sorts  while  the  palate  is  fresh  and  the  judg- 
ment unclouded.  The  tliirster  after  knowledge  must  not  drink 
too  deeply  now,  but  remember  the  second  ordeal  to  which  he 
will  afterwards  be  exposed  at  the  hospitable  table  of  the  pro- 
prietor, whose  joy  and  pride  is  to  produce  fine  wine  and  plenty 
of  it,  when  his  friends  meet  around  his  mahogany. 

Wliat  a  grateful  offering  is  then  made  to  the  jovial  god,  by 
whom  the  merchant  lives,  and  by  whom  the  deity  is  now  set  from 
his  glassy  prison  free !  What  a  drawing  of  popping  corks,  half 
consumed  by  time  ! — what  a  brushing  away  of  venerable  cobwebs 
from  flasks  binned  apart  while  George  the  Third  was  king  !  The 
delight  of  the  worthy  Amphitryon  on  producing  a  fresh  bottle, 
exceeds  that  of  a  prolific  mother  when  she  blesses  her  husband 
with  a  new  baby.  He  liandles  tiie  darling  decanter,  as  if  he  dearly 
loved  the  contents,  which  indeed  are  of  his  own  making ;  how 
the  clean  glasses  are  held  up  to  the  light  to  see  the  bright  trans- 
parent liquid  sparkle  and  phosphore.sce  within  ;  how  the  intelligent 
nose  is  passed  slowly  over  the  mantling  surface,  redolent  with 
fragrancy  ;  how  the  climax  of  rapture  is  reached  when  the  god- 
like nectar  is  raised  to  the  blushing  lips  ! 

The  wine  suffices  in  itself  for  sensual  gratification  and  for  in- 
tellectual conversation  i  all  the  guests  have  an  opinion ;  what 
gentleman,  indeed,  cannot  judge  on  a  horse  or  a  bottle  ?     When 

CHAP.  xiv.J  PRICES  OF  SHERRY.  161 

differences  arise,  as  they  will  in  matters  of  taste,  and  where 
bottles  circulate  freely,  the  master-host  decides — 

"  Tells  all  the  names,  lays  down  the  law, 
Que  5a  est  bon ;  ah,  goutez  ga." 

There  is  to  him  a  combination  of  pleasure  and  profit  in  these 
genial  banquets,  these  noctes  co^naeque  Deum.  Many  a  good 
connection  is  thus  formed,  when  an  English  gentleman,  who  now, 
perhaps  for  the  first  time,  tastes  pure  and  genuine  sherry.  A 
good  dinner  naturally  promotes  good  humour  with  mankind  in 
general,  and  with  the  donor  in  particular.  A  given  quantity  of 
the  present  god  opens  both  heart  and  purse-strings,  until  the 
tongue  on  which  the  magic  flavour  lingers,  murmurs  gratefully 
out,  "  Send  me  a  butt  of  amontillado  pasado,  and  another  of 
seco  reanejo,  and  draw  for  the  cash  at  sight." 

An  important  point  will  now  arise,  what  is  the  price  ?  That 
ever  is  the  question  and  the  rub.  Pure  genuine  sherry,  from 
ten  to  twelve  years  old,  is  worth  from  50  to  80  guineas  per  butt, 
in  the  bodega,  and  when  freight,  insurance,  duty,  and  charges 
are  added,  will  stand  the  importer  from  100  to  130  guineas  in 
his  cellar.  A  butt  will  run  from  108  to  112  gallons,  and  the 
duty  is  5*.  6c?.  per  gallon.  Such  a  butt  will  bottle  about  52 
dozen.  The  reader  will  now  appreciate  the  bargains  of  those 
"  pale  "  and  "  golden  sherries  "  advertised  in  the  English  news- 
papers at  36^.  the  dozen,  bottles  included.  They  are  maris 
expers,  although  much  indebted  to  French  brandy,  Sicilian 
Marsala,  Cape  wine,  Devonshire  cider,  and  Thames  water. 

The  growth  of  wine  amounts  to  some  400,000  or  500,000 
arrobas  annually.  The  arroba  is  a  Moorish  name,  and  a  dry 
measure,  altliough  used  for  liquids ;  it  contains  a  quarter  of  a 
hundredweight ;  30  arrobas  go  to  a  bota,  or  butt,  of  which  from 
8000  to  10,000  of  really  fine  are  annually  exported :  but  the 
quantities  of  so-called  sherries,  "neat  as  imported,"  in  the  manu- 
facture of  which  San  Lucar  is  fully  occupied,  is  prodigious,  and 
is  Increasing  every  year.  To  give  an  idea  of  the  extent  of  the 
growing  traffic,  in  1842  25,096  butts  were  exported  from  these 
districts,  and  29,313  in  1843  ;  while  in  1845  there  were  exported 
18,135  butts  from  Xerez  alone,  and  14,037  from  the  Puerto, 
making  the  enormous  aggregate  of  32,172  butts.     Now  as  the 


1G2  ADULTERATION  OF  WINES.  [chap.  xiv. 

vineyards  remain  precisely  the  same,  probabJy  some  portion  of 
these  additional  barrels  may  not  be  quite  the  genuine  produce  of  the 
Xerez  grape  :  in  truth,  the  ruin  of  sherry  wines  lias  commenced, 
from  the  numbers  of  second-rate  houses  tliat  have  sprung  up, 
which  look  to  quantity,  not  quality.  Many  thousand  butts  of  bad 
iSTiebla  wine  are  thus  palmed  off  on  the  enlightened  British  public 
after  being  well  brandied  and  doctored  ;  thus  a  conventional 
notion  of  sherry  is  formed,  to  the  ruin  of  the  real  tiling ;  for  even 
respectable  houses  are  forced  to  fabricate  their  wines  so  as  to  suit 
the  depraved  taste  of  their  consumers,  as  is  done  with  pure  clarets 
at  Bordeaux,  wliich  are  charged  with  Hermitages  and  Benicarlo. 
Thus  delicate  idiosyncratic  flavour  is  lost,  while  headache  and 
dyspepsia  are  imported  ;  but  there  is  a  fasliion  in  wines  as  in 
physicians.  Formerly  Madeira  was  the  vinous  panacea,  until  the 
increased  demand  induced  disreputable  traders  to  deteriorate  the 
article,  which  in  the  reaction  became  dishonoured.  Then  sherry 
was  resorted  to  as  a  more  honest  and  wholesome  beverage.  Now 
its  period  of  decline  is  hastening  from  the  same  causes,  and  the 
average  produce  is  becoming  inferior,  to  end  in  disrepute,  and 
possibly  in  a  return  to  the  wines  of  Madeira,  whose  makers  have 
learnt  a  lesson  in  the  stern  school  of  adversity. 

Be  that  as  it  may,  the  people  at  large  of  Spain  are  scarcely 
acquainted  with  the  taste  of  sherry  wine,  beyond  the  immediate 
vicinity  in  which  it  is  made  ;  and  more  of  it  is  swallowed  at 
Gibraltar  at  the  messes,  than  in  either  Madrid,  Toledo,  or  Sala- 
manca. Sherry  is  a  foreign  wine,  and  made  and  drunk  by 
foreigners  ;  nor  do  the  generality  of  Spaniards  like  its  strong  fla- 
vour, and  still  less  its  high  price,  although  some  now  affect  its  use, 
because,  from  its  great  vogue  in  England,  it  argues  civilization  to 
adopt  it.  This  use  obtains  only  in  the  capital  and  richer  seaports; 
thus  at  inland  Granada,  not  150  miles  from  Xerez,  sherry  would 
hardly  be  to  be  had,  were  it  not  for  the  demand  created  by  our 
travelling  countrymen,  and  even  then  it  is  sold  per  bottle,  and  as 
a  liqueur.  At  Seville,  which  is  quite  close  to  Xerez,  in  the  best 
houses,  one  glass  only  is  handed  round,  just  as  only  one  glass  of 
Greek  wine  was  in  the  house  of  the  father  of  even  Lucullus 
among  the  ancient  Romans,  or  as  among  the  modern  ones  is  still 
done  with  Malaga  or  Vino  de  Cypro ;  this  single  glass  is  drunk 
as  a  chasse,  and  being  considered  to  aid  digestion,  is  called  the 


golpe  medico,  the  coup  cle  medeciii ;  it  is  equivalent,  in  that  hot 
country,  to  the  thimbleful  of  Curagoa  or  Cognac,  by  which  coffee 
is  wound  up  in  colder  England  and  France. 

In  Andalucia  it  was  no  less  easy  for  the  Moor  to  encourage 
the  use  of  water  as  a  beverage,  than  to  prohibit  that  of  wine, 
which,  if  endued  with  strength,  which  sherry  is,  must  destroy 
health  when  taken  largely  and  habitually,  as  is  occasionally 
found  out  at  Gibraltar,  Hence  the  natives  of  Xerez  themselves 
infinitely  prefer  a  light  wine  called  Manzanilla,  which  is  made 
near  San  Lucar,  and  is  at  once  much  weaker  and  cheaper  than 
sherry.  The  grape  from  whence  it  is  produced  grows  on  a  poor 
and  sandy  soil.  The  vintage  is  very  early,  as  the  fruit  is  gathered 
before  it  is  quite  ripe.  The  wine  is  of  a  delicate  pale  straw  colour, 
and  is  extremely  wholesome  ;  it  strengthens  the  stomach,  without 
heating  or  inebriating,  like  sherry.  All  classes  are  passionately 
fond  of  it,  since  the  want  of  alcohol  enables  them  to  drink  more  of 
it  than  of  stronger  beverages,  while  the  dry  quality  acts  as  a  tonic 
during  the  relaxing  heats.  It  may  be  compared  to  the  ancient 
Lesbian,  which  Horace  quaffed  so  plentifully  in  the  cool  shade, 
and  then  described  as  never  doing  harm.  The  men  employed 
in  the  sherry  wine  vaults,  and  who  have  therefore  that  drink  at 
their  command,  seldom  touch  it,  but  invariably,  when  their  work 
is  done,  go  to  the  neighbouring  shop  to  refresh  themselves  with 
a  glass  of  "  innocent "  Manzanilla.  Among  their  betters,  clubs 
are  formed  solely  to  drink  it,  and  with  iced  water  and  a  cigar  it 
transports  the  consumer  into  a  Moslem's  dream  of  paradise.  It 
tastes  better  from  the  cask  than  out  of  the  bottle,  and  improves 
as  the  cask  gets  low. 

The  origin  of  the  name  has  been  disputed ;  some  who  prefer 
sound  to  sense  derive  it  from  Manzana,  an  apple,  which  had  it 
been  cider  might  have  passed  ;  others  connect  it  witli  the  distant 
town  of  Mansanilla  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  river,  where  it  is 
neither  made  nor  drunk.  The  real  etymology  is  to  be  found  in 
its  striking  resemblance  to  the  bitter  flavour  of  the  flowers  of 
camomile  {manzanilla),  which  are  used  by  our  doctors  to  make 
a  medicinal  tea,  and  by  those  of  Spain  for  fomentations.  This 
flavour  in  the  wine  is  so  marked  as  to  be  at  first  ouite  disajrree- 
able  to  strangers.  If  its  eulogistic  consumers  are  to  be  believed, 
the  wine  surpasses  the  tea  in  hygseian  qualities  :  none,  say  they. 

164  THE  ALPISTERA.  [chap,  xiv 

who  drink  it  are  ever  troubled  with  gravel,  stone,  or  gout. 
Certainly,  it  is  eminently  free  from  acidity.  The  very  best 
Manzanilla  is  to  be  liad  in  London  of  Messrs.  Gorman,  No.  16, 
Mark  Lane.  Since  "  Drink  it,  ye  dyspeptics"  was  enjoined  last 
year  in  the '  Handbook,'  the  importation  of  this  wine  to  Eng- 
land, which  previously  did  not  exceed  ten  butts,  has  in  twelve 
short  months  overpassed  two  hundred  ;  a  compliment  delicate  as 
it  is  practical,  which  is  acknowledged  by  the  author— a  drinker 
thereof — with  most  profound  gratitude. 

By  the  way,  the  real  thing  to  eat  with  Manzanilla  is  the 
alpistera.  Make  it  thus  : — To  one  pound  of  fine  flour  (mind 
that  it  is  dry)  add  half  a  pound  of  double-refined,  well-sifted, 
pounded  white  sugar,  the  yolks  and  whites  of  four  very  fresh  eggs, 
well  beaten  together  ;  work  the  mixture  up  into  a  paste ;  roll  it 
out  very  thin  ;  divide  it  into  squares  about  half  the  size  of  this 
page ;  cut  it  into  strips,  so  that  the  paste  should  look  like  a  hand 
with  fingers ;  then  dislocate  the  strips,  and  dip  them  in  hot  melted 
fine  lard,  until  of  a  delicate  pale  brown  ;  the  more  the  strips  are 
curled  up  and  twisted  the  better  ;  the  alpistera  should  look  like 
bunches  of  ribbons  ;  powder  them  over  with  fine  white  sugar. 
They  are  then  as  pretty  as  nice.  It  is  not  easy  to  make  them 
well ;  but  the  gods  grant  no  excellence  to  mortals  without  much 
labour  and  thought.  So  Venus  the  goddess  of  grace  was  allied 
to  hard-working  Vulcan,  who  toiled  and  pondered  at  his  fire,  as 
every  cook  who  has  an  aspiring  soul  has  ever  done. 



Spanish  Inns :  Why  so  Indifferent — The  Fonda — Modern  Improvements — 
The  Posada — Spanish  Innkeepers — The  Venta  :  Arrival  in  it — Arrange- 
ment— Garlic — Dinner — Evening — Night— Bill — Identity  Avith  the  Inns 
of  the  Ancients. 

Having  thus,  and  we  hope  satisfactorily,  discussed  the  eatables 
and  drinkables  of  Spain,  attention  must  naturally  be  next  directed 
to  those  houses  on  the  roads  and  in  the  towns,  where  these  com- 
forts to  the  hungry  and  weary  public  are  to  be  had,  or  are  not  to 
be  had,  as  sometimes  will   happen  in  this  land  of  "  the  unex- 
pected ;"  the  Peninsular  inns,   with  few  exceptions,  have  long 
been  divided  into  the  bad,  the  worse,  and  the  worst ;  and  as  the 
latter  are  still  the  most  numerous  and  national,  as  well  as  the 
worst,  they  will  be  gone  into  the  last.     In  few  countries  will  the 
rambler   agree  oftener  with  dear   Dr.  Johnson's   speech   to  his 
squire  Boswell,  "  Sir,  there  is  nothing  which  has  been  contrived 
by  man,  by  which  so  much  happiness  is  produced,  as  by  a  good 
tavern."     Spain   offers  many  negative  arguments  of  the   truth 
of  our  great  moralist  and  eater's  reflection  ;  the  inns  in  general 
are  fuller  of  entertainment  for  the  mind  than  the  body,  and  even 
when  the  newest,  and   the  best  in  the  country,  are  indifferent  if 
compared  to  those  which  Englishmen  are  accustomed  to  at  home, 
and  have  created   on  those  high  roads  of  tlie  Continent,  which 
they  most  frequent.     Here  few  gentlemen  will  say  with  Falstaff, 
"  Shall  I  not  take  mine  ease  in  mine  inn?"     Badness  of  roads 
and  discomforts  of  ventas  cannot  well  escape  the  notice  of  those 
who  travel  on  horseback  and  slowly,  since  they  must  dwell  on 
and   in    them ;  whereas  a  rail  whisks  the  passenger  past  such 
nuisances,  with  comet-like  rapidity,  and  all  things  that  are  soon 
out  of  sight  are  quicker   out  of  mind  ;  nevertheless,  let  no  as- 
piring writer  be  deterred  from  quitting  the  highways  for  the 
byeways  of  the  Peninsula.     "There  is,  Sir,"  as  Johnson   again 

ICG  INNS— WHY  SO  INDIFFERENT.  [chap.  xv. 

said  to  Boswell,  "  a  good  deal  of  Spain  that  has  not  been  peram- 
bulated. I  would  have  you  go  thitlier  ;  a  man  of  inferior  talents  to 
yours,  may  furnish  us  with  useful  observations  on  that  country." 
Why  the  public  accommodations  should  be  second-rate  is  soon 
explanifcd.  Nature  and  the  natives  have  long  combined  to 
isolate  still  more  their  Peninsula,  which  already  is  moated  round 
by  the  unsocial  sea,  and  is  barricadoed  by  almost  impassable 
mountains.  The  Inquisition  all  bat  reduced  Spanish  man  to  the 
condition  of  a  monk  in  a  wall-enclosed  convent,  by  standing 
sentinel,  and  keeping  watch  and  ward  against  the  foreigner  and 
his  perilous  novelties  ;*  Spain  thus  unvisited  and  unvisiting, 
became  arranged  for  Spaniards  only,  and  has  scarcely  required 
couveuiences  which  are  more  suited  to  the  curious  wants  of  other 
Europeans  and  strangers  who  here  are  neither  liked,  wished  for, 
nor  even  thought  of,  by  natives  who  seldom  travel  except  on 
compulsion  and  never  for  amusement  ;  why  indeed  should  they? 
since  Spain  is  paradise,  and  each  man's  own  parish  in  his  eyes 
is  the  central  spot  of  its  glory,  Wlien  the  noble  and  rich  visited 
the  provinces,  they  were  lodged  in  their  own  or  in  their  friends' 
houses,  just  as  the  clergy  and  monks  were  received  into  convents. 
The  great  bulk  of  the  Peninsular  family,  not  being  overburdened 
with  cash  or  fastidiousness,  have  long  been  and  are  inured 
to  infinite  inconveniences  and  negations ;  they  live  at  home  in 
an  abundance  of  privations,  and  expect  when  abroad  to  be  worse 
off;  and  they  well  know  that  comfort  never  lodges  at  a  Spanish  inn;- 
as  in  the  East,  tliey  cannot  conceive  that  any  travelling  should  be 
unattended  by  hardships,  which  they  endure  with  Oriental  resig- 
nation, as  cosas  de  Espana,  or  things  of  Spain  which  have  always 
been  so,  and  for  wliich  there  is  no  remedy  but  patient  resignation  ; 

*  Tlie  very  word  Novelty  has  become  in  common  parlance  synonymous 
with  danj;er,  ciiange,  by  the  fear  oi  which  all  Spaniards  are  perplexed ;  as  in 
religion  it  is  a  heresy.  Bitter  experience  has  tautiht  all  classes  that  every 
change,  every  promise  of  a  new  era  of  blessing  and  prosperity  has  ended  in 
a  failure,  and  that  matters  have  got  worse :  hence  they  not  only  bear  the 
evils  to  which  they  are  accustomed,  rather  than  try  a  speculative  ameliora- 
tion, but  actually  prefer  a  bad  state  of  ihings,  of  which  they  know  the  worst, 
to  the  possibility  uf  an  untried  good.  Mas  vale  el  7nal  conocido,  que  el  hieii 
por  coiwccr.  "  How  is  my  lady  the  wife  of  your  grace  .■''"  says  a  Spanish  gentle- 
man to  his  friend.  "  Cumo  estd  mi  Senora  la  Esposa  de  Usted  i"  "  She  goes 
on  without  Novelty"—"  Siyiie  sin  Novedad,"  is  the  reply,  if  the  fair  one  be 
much  the  same.  ''Vuija  Usted  con  JHos,  y  que  no  hiija  Novedad  T  "Go 
with  God,  your  grace!  and  may  nothing  new  happen,"  says  another,  on 
starling  his  friend  off  on  a  journey. 


the  bliss  of  ignorance,  and  the  not  knowing  of  anything  better, 
is  everywhere  the  grand  secret  of  absence  of  discontent ;  while 
to  those  whose  every-day  life  is  a  feast,  every  thing  that  does 
not  come  up  to  their  conventional  ideas  becomes  a  failure  but 
to  those  whose  daily  bread  is  dry  and  scanty,  whose  drink  is  water, 
every  thing  beyond  prison-fare  appears  to  be  luxury. 

In  Spain  there  has  been  little  demand  for  those  accommodations 
which  have  been  introduced  on  the  continent  by  our  nomade 
countrymen,  who  carry  their  tea,  towels,  carpets,  comforts  and 
civilization  with  them  ;  to  travel  at  all  for  mere  pleasure  is 
quite  a  modern  invention,  and  being  an  expensive  affair,  is  the 
most  indulged  in  by  the  English,  because  they  can  best  afford  it, 
but  as  Spain  lies  out  of  their  hackneyed  routes,  the  inns  still 
retain  much  the  same  state  of  primitive  dirt  and  discomfort, 
which  most  of  those  on  the  continent  presented,  until  repolished 
by  our  hints  and  guineas. 

In  the  Peninsula,  where  intellect  does  not  post  in  a  Britannic 
britzcka  and  four,  the  inns,  and  especially  those  of  the  country 
and  inferior  order,  continue  much  as  they  were  in  the  time  of 
the  Romans,  and  probably  long  before  them  ;  nay  those  in  the 
very  vicinity  of  Madrid,  "  the  only  court  on  earth,"  are  as 
classically  wretched,  as  the  hostelry  at  Aricia,  near  the  Eternal 
City,  was  in  the  days  of  Horace.  The  Spanish  inns,  indeed, 
on  the  bye-roads  and  remoter  districts,  are  such  as  render  it 
almost  unadvisable  for  any  English  lady  to  venture  to  face  them, 
unless  predetermined  to  go  through  roughing-it,  in  a  way  of 
which  none  who  have  only  travelleil  in  England  can  form  the 
remotest  idea  :  at  the  same  time  they  may  be  and  have  been 
endured  by  even  the  sick  and  delicate.  To  youth,  and  to  all 
men  in  enjoyment  of  good  health,  temper,  patience,  and  the 
blessing  of  foresight,  neither  a  dinner  nor  a  bed  will  ever  be 
wanting,  to  both  of  which  hunger  and  fatigue  will  give  a  zest 
beyond  the  reach  of  art ;  and  fortunately  for  travellers,  all  the 
Continent  over,  and  particularly  in  Spain,  bread  and  salt,  as  in 
the  days  of  Horace,  will  be  found  to  appease  the  wayfarer's  bark- 
ing stomach,  nor  will  he  who  after  that  sleeps  soundly  be  bitten 
by  fleas,  "  quien  duerme  bien,  no  le  picatt  las  ptdgas."  The  plea- 
sures of  travelling  in  this  wild  land  are  cheaply  purchased  by  these 
trifling  inconveniences,  which  may  always  be  much  lessened  by 

ST  2 

168  THE  FONDA.  [chap,  xv 

provision  in  brain  and  basket ;  the  expeditions  teem  with  inci- 
dent, adventure,  and  novelty ;  every  day  and  evening  present  a 
comedy  of  real  life,  and  offer  means  of  obtaining  insight  int^/ 
human  nature,  and  form  in  after-life  a  perpetual  fund  of  inter- 
esting recollections  :  all  that  was  ciiarming  will  be  then  remem- 
bered, and  the  disagreeable,  if  not  forgotten,  will  be  disarmed 
of  its  sting,  nay,  even  as  having  been  in  a  battle,  will  become 
a  pleasant  thing  to  recollect  and  to  talk,  may  be  tvvaddle,  about. 
Let  not  the  traveller  expect  to  find  too  much ;  if  he  reckons 
on  finding  nothing  he  will  seldom  be  disappointed  ;  so  let  him 
not  look  for  five  feet  in  a  cat,  "  no  buxces  cinco  pies  al  gato." 
Spain,  as  the  East,  is  not  to  be  enjoyed  by  the  over-fastidious  in 
the  fleshly  comforts  :  there,  those  who  over  analyze,  who  peep 
too  much  behind  the  culinary  or  domestic  curtains,  must  not 
expect  to  pass  a  tranquil  existence. 

First  and  foremost  among  these  refuges  for  the  destitute  comes 
the  fonda,  the  hotel.  This,  as  the  name  implies,  is  a  foreign 
thing,  and  was  imported  from  Venice,  wliich  in  its  time  was  the 
Paris  of  Europe,  the  leader  of  sensual  civilization,  and  the  sink 
of  every  lie  and  iniquity.  Its  fondacco,  in  the  same  manner, 
served  as  a  model  for  the  Turkish  fondack.  The  fonda  is  only 
to  be  found  in  the  largest  towns  and  principal  seaports,  where 
the  presence  of  foreigners  creates  a  demand  and  supports  the 
establishment.  To  it  frequently  is  attached  a  cafe,  or  "  hotil- 
lerid"  a  bottlery  and  a  place  for  the  sale  of  liqueurs,  with  a 
"  neveria"  a  snowery  where  ices  and  cakes  are  supplied.  Men 
only,  not  horses,  are  taken  in  at  a,  fonda;  but  there  is  generally 
a  keeper  of  a  stable  or  of  a  minor  inn  in  the  vicinity,  to  which 
the  traveller's  animals  are  consigned.  The  fonda  is  tolerably 
furnished  in  reference  to  the  common  articles  with  which  the 
sober  unindulgent  natives  are  contented  :  the  traveller  in  his 
comparisons  must  never  forget  that  Spain  is  not  England,  which 
too  few  ever  can  gei  out  of  their  heads.  Spain  is  Spain,  a  truism 
which  cannot  be  too  often  repeated  ;  and  in  its  being  Spain  con- 
sists its  originality,  its  raciness,  its  novelty,  its  idiosyncrasy,  its 
best  charm  and  interest,  although  the  natives  do  not  know  it, 
and  are  every  day,  by  a  foolish  aping  of  European  civilization, 
paring  away  attractions,  and  getting  commonplace,  unlike  them- 
selves, and  still  more  unlike  their  Gotho-Moro  and  most  pic- 

CHAP.  XV.]  THE  FONDA,  169 

turesque  fathers  and  mothers.  Monks,  as  we  said  in  our  preface, 
are  gone,  mantillas  are  going-,  the  shadow  of  cotton  versus  corn 
has  already  darkened  the  sunny  city  of  Figaro,  and  the  end 
of  all  Spanish  things  is  coming.     Ay  I  de  mi  Espajia ! 

Thus  in  Spain,  and   especially  in  the  hotter  provinces,  it   is 
heat  and  not  cold  which  is  the  enemy  :  what  we  call  furnij,tire — 
carpets,  rugs,  curtains,  and  so  forth — would  be  a  positive  nuisance, 
would  keep  out  the  cool,  and  harbour  plagues  of  vermin  beyond 
endurance.     The  walls  of  the  apartments  are  frequently,  though 
simply,  whitewashed  :  the  uneven   brick   floors  are  covered  in 
winter  with  a  matting  made  of  the  "  espai-to"  rush,  and  called 
an  ^' estera,"  as  v.'as  done  in  our  king's  palaces  in  the  days  of 
Elizabeth  :  a  low  iron  or  wooden    truckle   bedstead,  with  coarse 
but  clean  sheets  and   clothes,  a  few  hard  chairs,  perhaps  a  stiff- 
backed,  most  uncomfortable  sofa,  and  a  rickety  table  or  so,  com- 
plete the  scanty  inventory.     The  charges  are  moderate ;  about 
two  dollars,  or  8*.  6d.,  per  head  a-day,  includes  lodging,  break- 
fast,  dinner,  and    supper.       Servants,   if  Spanish,  are  usually 
charged  the  half;  English  servants,  whom  no  wise  person  would 
take  on  the  Continent,  are  nowhere    more   useless,  or   greater 
incumbrances,  tlian    in    this   hungry,   tliirsty,    tealess,    beerless, 
beefless  land :  tliey  give  more  trouble,  require  more  food  and 
attention,  and  are  ten  times  more  discontented  tlian  their  masters, 
who  have  poetry  in  tlieir  souls;  an  aesthetic  love  of  travel,  for 
its  own  sake,  more  tiian  counterbalances  with  them  the  want  of 
material  gross  comforts,  about  which  their  pudding  headed  four- 
full-meals- a-day    attendants    are   only  thinking.       Charges   are 
higher  at    INIadrid,    and    Barcelona,    a  great   commercial   city, 
where  the  hotels  are  appointed  more  European-like,  in  accom- 
modation and  prices.      Those  who  remain  any  time  in  a  large 
town   bargain  with  the  innkeeper,  or  go  into  a  boarding-house, 
"  casa    de  pupilos,"  or  "  de  huespedes,"  where   they  have  the 
best    opportunity  of    learning    the    Spanish   language,    and    of 
obtaining  an  idea  of  national  manners  and  habits.     This  system 
is  very  common.    The  houses  may  be  known  externally  by  a  white 
paper  ticket  attaclied  to  the  extremity  of  one  of  the  windows  or 
balconies.    This  position  must  be  noted  ;  for  if  the  paper  be  placed 
in  tlie  middle  of  the  balcony,  the  signal  means  only  that  lodgings 
are  here  to  be  let.     Their  charges  are  very  reasonable. 

170  CHANGF:S  IN  SPANISH  INNS.  [chap,  xv 

Since  the  death  of  Ferdinand  VII.  marvellous  improvements 
have  taken  place  in  some  fondas.  In  the  changes  and  chances 
of  the  multitudinous  revolutions,  all  parties  ruled  in  their  rota- 
tion, and  then  either  killed  or  banished  tlieir  opponents.  Thus 
royalists,  liberals,  patriots,  moderates,  &c.,  each  in  their  turn, 
have  been  expatriated  ;  and  as  the  wheel  of  fortune  and  politics 
went  round,  many  have  returned  to  tlieir  beloved  Spain  from 
bitter  exile  in  France  and  England.  These  tiavellers,  in  many 
cases,  were  sent  abroad  for  the  public  good,  since  they  were  thus 
enabled  to  discover  that  some  things  were  better  managed  on  the 
other  side  of  the  water  and  Pyrenees.  Then  and  there  suspicion 
crossed  their  minds,  although  they  seldom  will  admit  it  to  a 
foreigner,  that  Spain  Mas  not  altogether  the  richest,  wisest, 
strongest,  and  first  of  nations,  but  that  she  miglit  take  a  hint  or 
two  in  a  few  trifles,  among  which  perhaps  the  accommodations 
for  man  and  beast  might  be  included.  The  ingress,  again,  of 
foreigners  by  the  facilities  offered  to  travellers  by  the  increased 
novelties  of  steamers,  mails,  and  diligences  necessarily  called  for 
more  waiters  and  inns.  Every  day,  therefore,  the  fermentation 
occasioned  by  the  foreign  leaven  is  going  on  ;  and  if  the  national 
musto,  or  grape-juice,  be  not  over-drugged  with  French  brandy, 
sometliing  decent  in  smell  and  taste  may  yet  be  produced. 

In  the  seaports  and  large  towns  on  tlie  Madrid  roads  the  twi- 
light of  cafe  and  cuisine  civilization  is  breaking  from  La  belle 
France.  Monastic  darkness  is  dispelled,  and  the  age  of  convents 
is  giving  way  to  that  of  kitchens,  while  the  large  spaces  and 
ample  acconnnodations  of  the  suppressed  monasteries  suggest  an 
easy  transition  into  "  first-rate  establishments,"  in  wdiich  the 
occupants  will  probably  pay  more  and  pray  less.  News,  indeed, 
have  just  arrived  from  Malaga,  that  certain  ultra-civilized  hotels 
are  actually  rising,  to  be  defrayed  by  companies  and  engineered 
b)''  English,  who  seem  to  be  as  essential  in  regulating  these 
novelties  on  the  Continent  as  in  the  matters  of  lailroads  and 
steamboats.  Rooms  are  to  be  papered,  brick  floors  to  be  ex- 
changed for  boards,  carpets  to  be  laid  down,  fireplaces  to  be 
made,  and  bells  are  to  be  hung,  incredible  as  it  may  appear  to 
all  who  remember  Spain  as  it  was.  They  will  ring  the  knell  of 
nationality  ;  and  we  shall  be  much  mistaken  if  the  grim  old  Cid, 
when  the  first  one  is  pulled  at  Burffos.  does  not  answer  it  himself 

CHAP.  XV.]  THE  POSADA.  17l 

by  knocking  the  innovator  down.  Naj-,  more,  for  wonders 
never  cease  ;  vague  rumours  are  abroad  that  secret  and  solitary 
closets  are  contemplated,  in  which,  by  some  magical  mechanism, 
sudden  waters  are  to  gush  forth  ;  but  this  report,  like  others 
via  Madrid  and  Paris  telegraph,  requires  confirmation.  As- 
suredly, the  spirit  of  tlie  Holy  Inquisition,  which  still  hovers 
over  orthodox  Spain,  will  long  ward  off  these  English  heresies, 
which  are  rejected  as  too  bad  even  by  free-thinking  France. 

The  genuine  Spanish  town  inn  is  called  the  posada,  as  being 
meant  to  mean,  a  house  of  repose  after  the  pains  of  travel. 
Strictly  speaking,  the  keeper  is  only  bound  to  provide  lodging, 
salt,  and  the  power  of  cooking  whatever  the  traveller  brings 
with  him  or  can  procure  out  of  doors  ;  and  in  this  it  diifers  from 
the  fonda,  in  which  meats  and  drinks  are  furnished.  The  posada 
ought  only  to  be  compared  to  its  type,  the  kiian  of  the  East,  and 
never  to  the  inn  of  Europe.  If  foreigners,  and  especially 
Englishmen,  would  bear  this  in  mind,  they  would  save  them- 
selves a  great  deal  of  time,  trouble,  and  disappointment,  and  not 
expose  themselves  by  their  loss  of  temper  on  the  spot,  or  iu  tlieir 
note-books.  No  Spaniard  is  ever  put  out  at  meeting  with 
neither  attention  nor  accommodation,  although  he  maddesis  in  a 
moment  on  other  occasions  at  the  slightest  personal  affront,  for 
his  blood  boils  without  fire.  He  takes  these  things  coolly,  which 
colder-blooded  foreiiiuers  seldom  do.  The  native,  like  the 
Oriental,  does  not  expect  to  find  anything,  and  accordingly  is 
never  surjirised  at  only  getting  what  he  brings  witli  him.  His 
surprise  is  reserved  for  those  rare  occasions  when  he  finds  any- 
thing actually  ready,  which  he  considers  to  be  a  godsend.  As 
most  travellers  carry  tiieir  provisions  with  them,  the  \mcertainty 
of  demand  would  prevent  mine  host  from  filling  his  larder  with 
perishable  commodities  ;  and  formerly,  owing  to  absurd  local 
privileges,  he  very  often  was  not  permitted  to  sell  objects  of 
consumption  to  travellers,  because  the  lords  or  ^proprietors  of  the 
town  or  village  had  set  up  other  shops,  little  monopolies  of  their 
own.  These  inconveniences  sound  Morse  on  paper  tlian  in  prac- 
tice ;  for  whenever  laws  are  decidedly  opposed  to  common  sense 
and  the  public  benefit,  they  are  neutralized  in  practice ;  the 
means  to  elude  tliem  are  soon  discovered,  and  the  innkeeper,  if 
he  has  not  the  things  by  him  himself,  knows  where  to  get  them. 

172  THE  POSADA.  [chap.  xv. 

On  starting  next  day  a  sum  is  charged  for  lodging,  service,  and 
dressing  the  food  :  this  is  called  el  ruido  de  casa,  an  indemnifica- 
tion to  mine  host  for  the  noise,  the  disturbance,  that  the  traveller 
is  supposed  to  have  created,  which  is  the  old  Italian  incommodo 
de  la  casa,  the  routing  and  inconveniencing  of  the  house ;  and 
no  v/ord  can  be  better  chosen  to  express  the  varied  and  never- 
ceasing  din  of  mules,  muleteers,  songs,  dancing,  and  laughing, 
the  dust,  the  row,  which  Spaniards,  men  as  well  as  beasts,  kick 
up.  The  English  traveller,  who  will  have  to  pay  the  most  in 
purse  and  sleep  for  his  noise,  will  often  be  tiie  only  quiet  person 
in  the  house,  and  might  claim  indemnification  for  the  injur}' 
done  to  his  acoustic  organs,  on  the  principle  of  the  Turkish 
soldier  who  fjrces  his  entertainer  to  pay  him  teeth-money,  to 
compensate  for  the  damage  done  to  his  molars  and  incisors  from 
masticatino-  indifferent  rations. 

Akin  to  the  posada  is  the  ^^ parador,"  a  word  probably  derived 
from  Waradah,  Arabice,  "  a  halting-place  ;"  it  is  a  huge  caravan- 
sary for  the  reception  of  waggons,  carts,  and  beasts  of  burden  ; 
these  large  establishments  are  often  placed  outside  the  town  to 
avoid  the  heavy  duties  and  vexatious  examinations  at  the  gates, 
where  dues  on  all  articles  of  consumption  are  levied  both  for 
municipal  and  government  purposes.  They  are  the  old  sisa,  a 
word  derived  from  the  Hebrew  Sisah,  to  take  a  sixth  part,  and 
are  now  called  el  derecho  de  puertas,  the  gate-due ;  and  have 
always  been  as  unpopular  as  the  similar  octroi  of  France ;  and 
as  they  are  generally  farmed  out,  they  are  exacted  from  the 
peasantry  with  great  severity  and  incivility.  There  is  perhaps 
no  single  grievance  among  the  many,  in  the  mistaken  system  of 
Spanish  political  and  fiscal  economy,  which  tends  to  create  and 
keep  alive,  by  its  daily  retail  worry  and  often  wholesale  injustice, 
so  great  a  feeling  of  discontent  and  ill-will  towards  authority  as 
this  does  ;  it  obstructs  both  commerce  and  travellers.  The  oflficers 
are,  however,  seldom  either  strict  or  uncivil  to  the  higher  classes, 
and  if  courteously  addressed  by  the  stranger,  and  told  that  he  is 
an  English  gentleman,  the  official  Cerheri  open  the  gates  and 
let  him  pass  unmolested,  and  still  more  if  quieted  by  the  Vir- 
gilian  sop  of  a  bribe.  The  laws  in  Spain  are  indeed  strict  on 
paper,  but  those  who  administer  them,  whenever  it  suits  their 
private  interest,  that  is  ninety-nine  times  out  of  a  hundred,  evads 


and  defeat  them ;  they  obey  the  letter,  but  do  not  perform  the 
spirit,  "  5e  obedece,  pero  no  se  cumple ;"  indeed,  the  lower  classes 
of  officials  in  particular  are  so  inadequately  paid  that  they  are 
compelled  to  eke  out  a  livelihood  by  taking  bribes  and  little 
presents,  which,  as  Backshish  in  the  East,  may  always  be  offered, 
and  will  always  be  accepted,  as  a  matter  of  compliment.  The 
idea  of  a  bribe  must  be  concealed  ;  it  shocks  their  dignity,  their 
sense  of  honour,  their  '•^ pundonor  -r  if,  however,  the  money  be 
given  to  the  head  person  as  something  for  his  people  to  drink, 
the  delicate  attention  is  sacked  by  the  chief,  properly  appreciated, 
and  works  its  due  effect. 

Anotlier  term,    almost  equivalent    to    the    "  posada,"  is    the 
"  meson"  which  is  rather  applicable  to  the  inns  of  the  rural 
and   smaller  towns,   to   the  "  hoslerias,"    than   to  those  of  the 
greater.     The  "  mesonero,"   like  the  Spanish  "  vc7itera"  has  a 
bad   reputation.     It   is  always  as  well  to  stipulate    something 
about  prices  beforehand.     Tlie  pi-overb  says,  ''  Por  un  ladron, 
pierden  ciento   en  el   meson" — "  Ventera  hermosa,  mal  para  la 
bolsa."     "  For  every  one  who  is  robbed  on  the  road,  a  hundred 
are  in  the  inn." — "  The  fairer  tlie  hostess,  tlie  fouler  the  reckon- 
ing."    It  is  among  these  innkeepers  that  the  real  and  worst  rob- 
bers of  Spain  are  to  be  met  with,  since  these  classes  of  worthies 
are  everywhere  only  thinking  how  much   they  can  with  decency 
overcharge  in  their  bills.     This  is  but  fair,  for  nobody  would  be 
an  innkeeper  if  it  were  not  for  the  profit.     The   trade  of  inn- 
keeping  is  among  those   which    are    considered    derogatory    in 
Spain,  where    so    many  Hindoo  notions  of  caste,   self-respect, 
purity  of  blood,  etc.,  exist.    The  harbouring  strangers  for  gain 
is  opposed  to  every  ancient  and  Oriental  law  of  sacred  hospitality. 
Now  no  Spaniard,  if  he  can  lielp  it,  likes  to  degrade  himself; 
this  accounts  for  tlie  number  of  fondas  in  towns  being  kept  by 
Frenchmen,  Italians,  Catalans,  Biscayans,  wlio  are  all  foreigners 
in  the  eye  of  the  Castilian,  and  disliked  and  held  cheap  ;  accord- 
ingly the    inn-keeper  in    Don  Quixote    protests   that    he  is   a 
Christian,  although  a  ventero,  nay,  a  genuine  old  one — Cristiano 
viejo  rancio ;  an  old  Ciiristian  being  the  common  term  used  to 
distinguish  the    genuine  stock  from  those   renegade  Jews  and 
Moors  who,  rather  than  leave  Spain,  became  j^seudo- Christians 
(ind  publicans. 

1'4  THE  VENT  A.  [chap,  xv 

Tlie  country  Parador,   Mexoti,  Posada,   and   Venfa,  call  it 
how  you  will,  is  the   Roman  stabuliim,  whose  original  intention 
was  tlie  housing  of  cattle,  while  the  accommodation  of  travellers 
was  secondary,  and  so  it  is  in  Spain  to  this  day.    The  accommo- 
dation  for  the  beast  is  excellent ;     cool   roomy  stables,  ample 
mangers,  a  never-failing    supply  of  fodder  and  water,    every 
comfort  and  luxury  which  the  animal  is  capable  of  enjoying,  is 
ready  on   the  s))ot ;  as  regards  man,  it  is  just  the  reverse ;  he 
must  forage  abroad  for  anything  he  may  want.     Only  a  small 
part  of  the  barn  is  allotted  him,  and  then  he  is  lodged  among 
the  brutes  below,  or  among  the  trusses  and  sacks  of  their  food 
in  the  lofts  above.     He  finds,  in  spite  of  all  this,  tliat  if  he  asks 
the  owner  what  he  has  got,  he  will  be  told  that  "  there  is  every- 
thing," /lat/  de  todo,  just  as  the  rogue  of  a  veniero  informed 
Sancho  Panza,  that  his  empty  larder  contained  all  tlie  birds  of 
the  air,  all  the  beasts  of  the  earth,  all  the  fishes  of  the  sea, — a 
Spanish  magnificence  of  promise,  which,  when  reduced  to  plain 
Englisli,  too  often  means,  as  in  that  case,  there  is  everything 
that  you  have  brought  with  you.     This  especially  occurs  in  the 
ventas  of  the  out-of-the-way  and   i-arely-visited  districts,  which, 
however  empty  their  larders,  are  full  of  the  spirit  of  Don  Quixote 
to  the  brim ;    and   tlie  everyday   occurrences    in    them    are  so 
strange,  and  one's  life  is  so  dramatic,  that  there  is  much  diffi- 
culty in  "  realising,"  as  the  Americans  say  ;  all  is  so  like  being  in 
a  dream  or  at  a  plaj',  that  one  scarcely  can  believe  it  to   be 
actually  taking  place,  and  true.     The  man  of  tlie  note-book  and 
the  artist  almost  forget  that  there  is  notliing  to  eat ;  meanwhile 
all  this  food  for  the  mind  and  portfolio,  all  this  local  colour  and 
oddness,  is   lost  upon  your  Spanish  companion,   if  he  be  one  of 
the  better  classes :  he  is  ashamed,  where  you  are  enchanted  ;  he 
blushes  at  the  sad  want  of  civilization,  clean  table-cloth,  and  beef- 
steaks, and  perhaps  he  is  right :  at  all  events,  while  you  are  raving 
about  the  Goths,  Moors,  and  tliis  lifting  up  the  curtain  of  two 
thousand  years  ago,  he  is  thinking  of  Mivart's ;  and  when  you 
quote  Martial,  he  and  the  veiitero  set  you  down  as  talking  non- 
sense, and  stark  staring  mad  ;  nay,  a  Spanish  gentleman  is  often 
affronted,  and  suspects,  from  the  impossibility  to  him,  that  such 
things  can  be  objects  of  real  admiration,  that  you  are  laugh- 
i'lg   at    him    in    your   sleeve,   and    considering  his  country  as 

CHAP.  xv.J  THE  VENTA.  175 

Roman,  African,  or  in  a  word,  as  un-European,  which   is  wiiat 
he  particularly  dislikes  and  resents. 

These  veutas  have  from  time  immemorial  been  the  subject  of 
jests  and  pleasantries  to  Spanish  and  foreign  wits.  Quevedo  and 
Cervantes  indulge  in  endless  diatribes  against  the  roguery  of  the 
masters,  and  tlie  misery  of  the  accommodations,  while  Gongora 
compares  them  to  Noah's  ark  ;  and  in  truth  they  do  contain  a 
variety  of  animals,  from  the  big  to  tlie  small,  and  more  than  a 
pair,  of  more  than  one  kind  of  the  latter.  The  word  veyda  is 
derived  from  the  Latin  vendendo,  on  the  lucus  a  non  lucendo 
principle  of  etymology,  because  provisions  are  not  sold  in  it  to 
travellers:  old  Covarrubias  explains  this  mode  of  dealing  as 
consisting  "  especially  in  selling  a  cat  for  a  hare,"  which  indeed 
vvas  and  is  so  usual  a  venta  practice,  tliat  venderlo  a  uno  gato 
por  liebre  has  become  in  common  Spanish  parlance  to  be  equiva- 
lent to  doing  or  taking  one  in.  The  natives  do  not  dislike  the 
feline  tribe  when  well  stewed  :  no  cat  was  safe  in  the  Alhambra, 
the  galley-slaves  bagged  her  in  a  second.  This  venta  trait  of 
Iberian  gastronomy  did  not  escape  the  compiler  of  Gil  Bias. 

Be  that  as  it  may,  a  venta,  strictly  speaking,  is  an  isolated 
country  inn,  or  house  of  reception  on  the  road,  and,  if  it  be  not 
one  of  physical  entertainment,  it  is  at  least  one  of  moral,  and 
accordingly  figures  in  prominent  characters  in  all  the  personal 
narratives  and  travels  in  Spain  ;  it  sharpens  the  wit  of  both 
hungry  cooks  and  lively  authors,  and  ingenii  largitor  venter  is 
as  old  as  Juvenal.  Many  of  these  ventas  have  been  built  on  a 
large  scale  by  the  noblemen  or  convent  brethren  to  whom  the 
village  or  adjoining  territory  belonged,  and  some  have  at  a 
distance  quite  the  air  of  a  gentleman's  mansion.  Their  walls, 
towers,  and  often  elegant  elevations  glitter  in  the  sun,  gay  and 
promising,  wliile  all  within  is  dark,  dirty,  and  dilapidated,  and 
no  better  than  a  wdiitened  sepulchre.  The  ground  floor  is  a  sort 
of  common  room  for  men  and  beasts ;  the  portion  appropriated 
to  the  stables  is  often  arched  over,  and  is  very  imperfectly  lighted 
to  keep  it  cool,  so  that  even  by  day  the  eye  has  some  difficulty 
at  first  in  making  out  the  details.  The  ranges  of  mangers  are 
fixed  round  the  walls,  and  the  harness  of  the  different  animals 
suspended  on  the  pillars  which  support  the  arches ;  a  wide  door, 
always  open  to  tfie  road,  leads  into  this  great  stable ;  a  small 

17G  RECEPTIUxN  AT  THP:  VENTA.  [chap.  xv. 

space  in  the  interior  is  generally  left  unincumbered,  into  which  the 
traveller  enters  on  foot  or  on  horseback  ;  no  one  greets  him  ;  no 
obsequious  landlord,  bustling  waiter,  or  simpering  chambermaid 
takes  any  notice  of  his  arrival :  the  ventero  sits  in  the  sun 
smoking,  while  his  wife  continues  her  uninterrupted  chasse  for 
"  small  deer  "  in  the  thick  covers  of  her  daughters'  hair ;  nor 
does  the  guest  pay  much  attention  to  them ;  he  proceeds  to  a 
gibbous  water-jar,  which  is  always  set  up  in  a  visible  place,  dips 
in  with  the  ladle,  or  takes  from  the  shelf  in  the  wall  an  alcarraza 
of  cold  water ;  refreshes  his  baked  clay,  refills  it,  and  replaces  it 
in  its  hole  on  the  taller,  which  resembles  the  decanter  stands  in 
a  butler's  pantry :  he  then  proceeds,  unaided  by  ostler  or  boots, 
to  select  a  stall  for  his  beast, — unsaddles  and  unloads,  and  in  due 
time  applies  to  the  ventero  for  fodder ;  the  difference  of  whose 
cool  reception  contrasts  with  the  eager  welcome  which  awaits  the 
traveller  at  bedtime  :  his  arrival  is  a  godsend  to  the  creeping  tribe, 
who,  like  the  ventero,  have  no  regular  larder  ;  it  is  not  upstairs 
that  he  eats,  but  where  he  is  eaten  like  Polonius ;  the  walls  are 
frequently  stained  with  the  marks  of  nocturnal  combats,  of  those 
internecine,  truly  Spanish  guerrillas,  which  are  waged  without 
an  Elliot  treaty,  against  enemies  who,  if  not  exterminated, 
murder  sleep.  Were  these  fleas  and  French  ladybirds  unani- 
mous, they  would  eat  up  a  Goliath ;  but  fortunately,  like  other 
Spaniards,  they  never  act  together,  and  are  consequently  con- 
quered and  slaughtered  in  detail  ;  hence  the  proverbial  expression 
for  great  mortality  among  men,  mueren  como  chinches. 

Having  first  provided  for  the  wants  and  comforts  of  his  beast, 
for  "  the  master's  eye  fattens  the  horse,"  the  traveller  begins  to 
think  of  himself.  One,  and  the  greater  side  of  the  building,  is 
destined  to  the  cattle,  tlie  other  to  their  owners.  Immediately 
opposite  the  public  entrance  is  the  staircase  that  leads  to  the 
upper  part  of  the  building,  which  is  dedicated  to  the  lodgment 
of  fodder,  fowls,  vermin,  and  the  better  class  of  travellers.  The 
arrangement  of  the  larger  class  of  posadas  and  ventas  is  laid  out 
on  the  plan  of  a  convent,  and  is  well  calculated  to  lodge  the 
greatest  number  of  inmates  in  the  smallest  space.  The  ingress 
and  egress  are  facilitated  by  a  long  "orridor,  into  which  the 
doors  of  the  separate  rooms  open;  these  are  called  '■^  cuartos" 
whence  our  word  "  quarters"  may  be  derived.     There  is  seldom 


any  furniture  in  them  ;  whatever  is  wanted,  is  or  is  not  to  be  had  of 
the  host  from  some  lock-up  store.  A  rigid  puritan  will  be  much 
distressed  for  the  lack  of  any  artificial  contrivance  to  hold  water  ; 
the  best  toilette  on  these  occasions  is  a  river's  bank,  but  rivers 
in  unvisited  interiors  of  the  Castiles  are  often  rarer  even  than 
water-basins.  It  is,  however,  no  use  to  draw  nets  in  streams 
where  there  are  no  fish,  nor  to  expect  to  find  conveniences  which 
no  one  else  ever  asks  for,  and  those  articles  which  seem  to  the 
foreigner  to  be  of  tlie  commonest  and  daily  necessity,  are  un- 
known to  the  natives.  However,  as  there  are  no  carpets  to  be 
spoiled,  and  cold  water  retains  its  properties  although  brought 
up  in  a  horse-bucket  or  in  the  cook's  brass  cauldron,  ablutions, 
as  the  albums  express  it,  can  be  performed.  What  a  school, 
after  all,  a  venta  is  to  the  slaves  of  comforts,  and  without  liow 
many  absolute  essentials  do  they  manage  to  get  on,  and  happily  ! 
What  lessons  are  tauglit  of  good-humoured  patience,  and  that 
British  sailor  characteristic  of  making  the  best  of  every  occur- 
rence, and  deeming  any  port  a  good  one  in  a  storm  !  Complaint 
is  of  no  use  ;  if  you  tell  the  landlord  that  his  wine  is  more 
sour  than  his  vinegar,  he  will  gravely  reply,  "  ^''«?«or,  that  cannot 
be,  for  both  came  out  of  the  same  cask." 

The  portion  of  the  ground-floor  which  is  divided  by  the 
public  entrance  from  the  stables,  is  dedicated  to  the  kitchen  and 
accommodation  of  the  travellers.  The  kitchen  consists  of  a 
huge  open  range,  generally  on  the  floor,  the  ollas  pots  and  culi- 
nary vessels  being  placed  against  the  fire  arranged  in  circles,  as 
described  by  Martial,  "  multa  villica  quem  coronat  olid,''  who, 
as  a  good  Spaniard  would  do  to  this  day,  after  thirty -five  years' 
absence  at  Rome,  writes,  after  his  return  to  Spain,  to  his  friend 
Juvenal  a  full  account  of  the  real  comforts  that  he  once  more 
enjoys  in  liis  best-beloved  patria,  and  which  remind  us  of  the 
domestic  details  in  the  opening  chapter  of  Don  Quixote.  These 
rows  of  pipkins  are  kept  up  by  round  stones  called  "  sesos;' 
brains;  above  is  a  liigh,  wide  chimney,  which  is  armed  with 
iron-work  for  suspending  pots  of  a  large  size ;  sometimes  there 
are  a  few  stoves  of  masonry,  but  more  frequently  they  are  only 
the  portable  ones  of  tlie  East.  Around  the  blackened  walls  are 
arranged  pots  and  pipkins,  gridirons  and  frying-pans,  whicli  hang 
hi  rows,  like  tadpoles  of  all  sizes,  to  accommodate  large  or  small 

178  VENTA  GARLIC.  [chap.  xv. 

parties,  and  the  more  the  better ;  it  is  a  good  sign,  "  en  casa 
llena,  pronto  se  guisa  cenar     Supper  is  then  sooner  ready. 

The  vicinity  of  the  kitchen  fire  being  the  warmest  spot,  and  the 
nearest  to  the  flesh-pot,  is  the  querencia,  the  favourite  "  resort" 
of  the  muleteers  and  travelling-  bagsmen,  especially  when  cold, 
wet,  and  huntjry.  The  first  come  are  the  best  served,  says 
the  proverb,  in  the  matters  of  soup  and  love.  The  earliest  ar- 
rivals take  the  cosiest  corner  seats  near  the  fire,  and  secure  the 
promptest  non-attendance;  for  the  better  class  of  guests  there  is 
sometimes  a  "  private  apartment,"  or  the  boudoir  of  the  ventera, 
wliicli  is  made  over  to  those  who  bring  courtesy  in  their  mouths, 
and  seem  to  have  cash  in  their  pockets  ;  but  these  out-of-the 
way  curiosities  of  comfort  do  not  always  suit  either  author  or 
artist,  and  the  social  kitchen  is  preferable  to  solitary  state. 
When  a  stranger  enters  into  it,  if  he  salutes  the  company,  "  My 
lords  and  knights,  do  not  let  your  graces  molest  yourselves,"  or 
courteously  indicates  his  desire  to  treat  them  with  respect,  they 
will  assuredly  more  than  return  the  compliment,  and  as  good 
breeding  is  instinctive  in  the  Spaniard,  will  rise  and  insist  on  his 
taking  the  best  and  highest  seat.  Greater,  indeed,  is  their  reward 
and  satisfaction,  if  they  discover  that  the  invited  one  can  talk  to 
them  in  their  own  lingo,  and  understands  their  feelings  by  circu- 
lating his  cigars  and  wine  bota  among  them. 

At  the  side  of  the  kitchen  is  a  den  of  a  room,  into  which  the 
ventero  keeps  stowed  away  tliat  stock  of  raw  materials  which 
forms  the  foundation  of  the  national  cuisine,  and  in  which  garlic 
plays  the  first  fiddle.  The  very  name,  like  that  of  monk,  is 
enough  to  give  offence  to  most  English.  The  evil  consists, 
however,  in  the  abuse,  not  in  the  use :  from  the  quantity  eaten 
in  all  southern  countries,  where  it  is  considered  to  be  fra- 
grant, palatable,  stomachic,  and  invigorating,  we  must  assume 
that  it  is  suited  by  nature  to  local  tastes  and  constitutions. 
Wherever  any  particular  herb  grows,  there  lives  the  ass  who  is 
to  eat  it.  "  Donde  crece  la  cscoba,  nace  el  asno  que  la  roya." 
Nor  is  garlic  necessarily  eitlier  a  poison  or  a  source  of  baseness ; 
for  Henry  IV.  was  no  sooner  born,  than  his  lips  were  rubbed 
with  a  clove  of  it  by  his  grandfather,  after  tlie  revered  old 
custom  of  Beam. 

Bread,  wine,  and  raw  garlic,  says  the  proverb,  make  a  youiig 

CHAP.  XV.]  DINNERS  IN  THE  VENTx\,  179 

man  go  briskly,  Pan,  vino,  y  ajo  crudo,  hucen  andar  al  rnozo 
agudo.  The  bettei*  classes  turn  up  their  noses  at  this  odoriferous 
delicacy  of  the  lower  classes,  which  was  forbidden  per  statute 
by  Alonzo  XI.  to  his  knights  of  La  Banda ;  and  Don  Quixote 
cautions  Sancho  Panza  to  be  moderate  in  this  food,  as  not  be- 
coming to  a  governor  :  with  even  such  personages  however  it  is  a 
struggle,  and  one  of  the  greatest  sacrifices  to  the  altar  of  civili- 
zation and  les  convenances.  To  give  Spanish  garlic  its  due,  it 
must  be  said  that,  when  administered  by  a  judicious  hand  (for, 
like  prussic  acid,  all  depends  on  the  quantity),  it  is  far  milder 
than  the  English.  Spanisli  garlic  and  onions  degenerate  after 
three  years'  planting  when  transplanted  into  England.  They  gain 
in  pungency  and  smell,  just  as  English  foxhounds,  when  drafted 
into  Spain,  lose  their  strength  and  scent  in  the  third  generation. 
A  clove  of  garlic  is  called  un  diente,  a  tooth.  Those  who  dis- 
like the  piquant  vegetable  must  place  a  sentinel  over  the  cook 
of  the  venta  while  she  is  putting  into  her  cauldron  the  ingredients 
of  his  supper,  or  Avicenna  will  not  save  him  ;  for  if  God  sends 
meats,  and  here  they  are  a  godsend,  the  evil  one  provides  the 
cooks  of  the  venta,  who  certainly  do  bedevil  many  things. 

Thrice  happy,  then,  the  man  blessed  with  a  provident  servant 
who  has  foraged  on  the  road,  and  comes  prepared  with  cates  on 
which  no  Castilian  Canidia  has  breathed  ;   while  they  are  stewing 
he  may,  if  he  be  a  poet,  rival  those  sonnets  made  in  Don  Quixote 
on  Sancho's  ass,  saddle-bags,  and  sapient  attention  to  their  pro- 
vend,  "  su  cuerda  providencia.''    The  odour  and  good  tidings  of 
the  arrival  of  unusual  delicacies  soon  spread  far  and  wide  in  the 
village,  and    generally  attract    the    Cura,   who    loves    to    hear 
something  new,  and  does  not  dislike  savoury  food  :   the  quality  of 
a  Spaniard's  temperance,  like  that  of  Iiis  mercy,  is  strained  ;   his 
poverty  and  nut  his  will  consents  to   more  and  other  fastings 
than  to  those  enjoined  by  the  church  ;  hunger,  the  sauce  of  Saint 
Bernard,  is  one  of  the  few  wants  which  is  not  experienced  in  a 
Spanish  venta.    Our  practice  in  one  was  to  invite  the  curate,  by 
begging  him  to  bless  the  pot-luck,  to  whicli  he  did  ample  justice, 
and  more  than  repaid  for  its  visible  diminution  by  good  fellow- 
ship, local  information,  and   the  credit  reflected  on  the  stranger 
in  the  eyes  of  the   natives,  by  behohling  him  thus  patronised  by 
their  pastor  and  master.     It  is  not  to  be  denied  in  the  case  of  a 

ISO  RECEPTION  AT  THE  VENTA.  [chap.  xv. 

stew  of  partridges,  that  deep  sighs  and  exclamations  que  rico ! 
"  how  rich  !  "  escape  the  envious  lips  of  his  hungry  flock  when 
they  behold  and  whiff  the  odoriferous  dish  as  it  smokes  past  them 
like  a  railway  locomotive. 

Nor,  it  must  be  said,  was  all  this  hospitality  on  one  side  ;  it  has 
more  than  once  befallen  us  in  the  rude  ventas  of  the  Salamanca 
district,  that  the  silver-haired  cura,  whose  living  barely  furnished 
the  means  whereby  to  live,  on  hearing  the  simple  fact  that  an 
Englishman  was  arrived,  has  come  down  to  offer  his  house  and 
fare.  Such,  or  indeed  any  Spaniard's  invitation  is  not  to  be 
accepted  by  those  who  value  liberty  of  action  or  time ;  seat 
rather  the  good  man  at  the  head  of  the  vcnta  board,  and  reo-ale 
him  with  your  best  cigar,  he  will  tell  you  oi  El  gran  Lor — the 
great  Loi'd — the  Cid  of  England ;  he  will  recount  the  Duke's 
victories,  and  dwell  on  the  good  faith,  mercy,  and  justice  of  our 
brave  soldiers,  as  he  will  execrate  the  cruelty,  rapacity,  and 
perfidy  of  those  who  fled  before  their  gleaming  bayonets. 

But,  to  return  to  first  arrival  at  ventas,  whether  saddle-baff 
or  stomach  be  empty  or  full,  the  ventero  when  you  enter  remains 
unmoved  and  imperturbable,  as  if  he  never  had  had  an  appetite, 
or  had  lost  it,  or  had  dined.  Not  that  his  genus  ever  are  seen 
eating  except  when  invited  to  a  guest's  stew  ;  air,  the  economical 
ration  of  the  chameleon,  seems  to  be  his  habitual  sustenance,  and 
still  more  as  to  liis  wife  and  womankind,  who  never  will  sit 
and  eat  even  with  the  stranger  ;  nay,  in  humbler  Spanish  families 
they  seem  to  dine  with  the  cat  in  some  corner,  and  on  scraps ; 
this  is  a  remnant  of  the  Roman  and  Moorish  treatment  of  women 
as  inferiors.  Their  lord  and  husband,  the  innkeeper,  cannot 
conceive  why  foreigners  on  their  arrival  are  always  so  impatient, 
and  is  equally  surprised  at  their  inordinate  appetite ;  an  English 
landlord's  first  question  "  Will  you  not  like  to  take  some  refresh- 
ment ?"  is  the  very  last  which  he  would  think  of  putting ;  some- 
times by  giving  him  a  cigar,  by  coaxing  his  wife,  flattering  his 
daughter,  and  caressing  Maritornes,  you  may  get  a  couple  of  his 
polios  or  fowls,  which  run  about  the  ground-floor,  picking  up 
anything,  and  ready  to  be  picked  up  themselves  and  dressed. 

All  the  operations  of  cookery  and  eating,  of  killing,  sousing 
in  boiling  water,  plucking,  et  csetera,  all  preparatory  as  well  as 
final,  go  on  in  this  open  kitchen.     They  are  carried  out  bv  the 


ventera  and  her  daughters  or  maids,  or  by  some  crabbed,  smoke- 
dried,  shrivelled  old  she-cat,  that  is,  or  at  least  is  called,  the 
"  <2a,"  "  my  aunt,"  and  who  is  the  subject  of  the  good-humoured 
remarks  of  the  courteous  and  hungry  traveller  before  dinner, 
and  of  his  full  stomach  jests  afterwards.  The  assembled  parties 
crowd  round  the  fire,  watching  and  assisting  each  at  their  own 
savoury  messes,  "  Un  ojo  a  la  sarten,  y  otro  a  lagata" — "  One  eye 
to  the  pan,  the  other  to  tlie  real  cat,"  whose  very  existence  in  a 
venta,  and  among  the  pots,  is  a  miracle  ;  by  the  way,  the  naturalist 
will  observe  that  their  ears  and  tails  are  almost  always  cropped 
closely  to  the  stumps.  All  and  each  of  the  travellers,  when  their 
respective  stews  are  ready,  form  clusters  and  groups  round  the 
frying-pan,  which  is  moved  from  the  fire  hot  and  smoking,  and 
placed  on  a  low  table  or  block  of  wood  before  them,  or  the 
unctuous  contents  are  emptied  into  a  huge  earthen  reddish  dish, 
which  in  form  and  colour  is  the  precise  paropsis,  the  food 
platter,  described  by  Martial  and  by  other  ancient  authors. 
Chairs  are  a  luxury  ;  the  lower  classes  sit  on  the  ground  as  in  the 
East,  or  on  low  stools,  and  fall  to  in  a  most  Oriental  manner,  witli 
an  un-European  ignorance  of  forks  ;*  for  which  they  substitute  a 
short  wooden  or  horn  spoon,  or  dip  their  bread  into  the  dish,  or 
fish  up  morsels  with  their  long  pointed  knives.  They  eat 
copiously,  but  with  gravity — with  appetite,  but  without  greedi- 
ness ;  for  none  of  any  nation,  as  a  mass,  are  better  bred  or  man- 
nered than  the  lower  classes  of  Spaniards. 

They  are  very  pressing  in  their  invitations  whenever  any  eat- 
ing is  going  on.  No  Spaniard  or  Spaniards,  liowever  humble 
their  class  or  fare,  ever  allow  any  one  to  come  near  or  pass  them 
when  eating,  without  inviting  him  to  partake.  "  Guste  ustecl 
comer  ?  "  "  Will  your  grace  be  pleased  to  dine  ?  "  No  traveller 
should  ever  omit  to  go  throiigh  this  courtesy  whenever  any 
Spaniards,  high  or  low,  approach  him  when  at  any  meal,  espe- 
cially if  taking  it  out  of  doors,  which  often  happens   in  these 

*  Forks  are  an  Italian  invention:  old  Coryate,  -who  introduced  this 
'' neatnesse  "  into  Somersetshire,  about  IGOO,  was  called  y»rc{/pr  by  his 
friends.  Alexander  Barclay  thus  describes  the  previous  English  mode  of 
eating,  which  sounds  very  ventaish,  although  worse  mannered : — 

"  If  the  dishe  be  pleasaunt,  eyther  flesche  or  fische, 
Ten  hands  at  once  swarm  in  the  dishe." 


182  VENTA  EATING.  [chap,  xv 

jouriifcyings  ;  nor  is  it  altogether  an  empty  form  ;  all  classes  con- 
sider it  a  compliment  if  a  stranger,  and  especially  an  English- 
man, will  condescend  to  share  their  dinner.  In  the  smaller 
towns,  those  invited  by  English  will  often  partake,  even  the 
better  classes,  and  who  have  already  dined  ;  they  think  it  civil 
to  accept,  and  rude  to  I'efuse  the  invitation,  and  have  no  objection 
to  eating  any  given  good  thing,  M'hich  is  the  exception  to  their 
ordinary  frugal  habits  :  all  this  is  quite  Arabian.  The  Spaniards 
seldom  accept  the  invitation  at  o)ice ;  they  expect  to  be  urged 
by  an  obsequious  host,  in  order  to  appear  to  do  a  gentle  violence 
to  their  stomachs  by  eating  to  oblige  him.  The  angels  declined 
Lot's  offered  hospitalities  until  they  were  "  pressed  greatly." 
Travellers  in  Spain  must  not  forget  tliis  still  existing  Oriental 
trait ;  for  if  they  do  not  greatly  press  their  offer,  they  are  under- 
stood as  meaning  it  to  be  a  mere  empty  compliment.  We  have 
known  Spaniards  who  have  called  with  an  intention  of  staying 
dinner,  go  away,  because  this  ceremony  was  not  gone  through 
according  to  their  punctilious  notions,  to  which  our  off-hand 
manners  are  diametrically  opposed.  Hospitality  in  a  hungry 
inn-less  land  becomes,  as  in  the  East,  a  sacred  duty  ;  if  a  man 
eats  all  the  provender  by  himself,  he  cannot  expect  to  have 
many  friends.  Generally  speaking,  the  offer  is  not  accepted  ;  it 
is  always  declined  with  the  same  courtesy  which  prompts  the  in- 
vitation. "  Miichas  gracias,  huen  pioveclio  le  haga  a  usted" 
"  Many  thanks — much  good  may  it  do  your  grace,"  an  answer 
which  is  analogous  to  the  prosit  of  Italian  peasants  after  eating 
or  sneezing.  These  customs,  both  of  inviting  and  declining, 
tally  exactly,  and  even  to  the  expressions  used  among  tiie  Arabs 
to  this  day.  Every  passer-by  is  invited  by  Orientals — "  Bis- 
millah  ya  seedee"  which  means  both  a  grace  and  invitation — 
"In  the  name  of  God,  sir,  (e.  e.)  will  you  dine  with  us  ?"  or 
"  Tafud'-dal"  "  Do  me  the  favour  to  partake  of  this  repast." 
Those  who  decline  reply,  "  Henee  an"  "  May  it  benefit." 

Supper,  which,  as  with  the  ancients,  is  their  principal  meal,  is 
seasoned  with  copious  draughts  of  the  wine  of  the  country,  drunk 
out  of  a  jug  or  bota  which  we  have  already  described,  for  glasses 
do  not  abound  ;  after  it  is  done,  cigars  are  lighted,  the  rude  seats 
are  drawn  closer  to  the  fire,  stories  are  told,  principally  on  robber 
or  love  events,  the  latter  of  which  are  by  far  the  truest.     Jokes 


are  given  and  taken  ;  laughter,  inextinguishable  as  that  of  Homer's 
gods,  forms  the  chorus  of  conversation,  especially  after  good 
eating  or  drinking,  to  which  it  is  the  best  dessert.  In  due  time 
songs  are  sung,  a  guitar  is  strummed,  for  some  black-whiskered 
Figaro  is  sure  to  have  heard  of  the  "  arrival,"  and  steals  down 
from  the  pure  love  of  harmony  and  charms  of  a  cigar ;  then 
flock  in  peasants  of  both  sexes,  dancing  is  set  on  foot,  the  fatigues 
of  the  day  are  forgotten,  and  the  catcliing  sympathy  of  mirth 
extending  to  all,  is  prolonged  until  far  into  the  night ;  durino- 
which,  as  they  take  a  long  siesta  in  the  day,  all  are  as  wakeful 
as  owls,  and  worse  caterwaulers  than  cats  ;  to  describe  the  scene 
baffles  the  art  of  pen  or  pencil.  The  roars,  the  dust,  the  want 
of  everything  in  these  low-classed  ventas,  are  emblems  of  the 
nothingness  of  Spanish  life — a  jest.  One  by  one  the  company 
drops  off;  the  better  classes  go  up  stairs,  the  humbler  and  vast 
majority  make  up  their  bed  on  the  ground,  near  their  animals,  and 
like  them,  full  of  food  and  free  from  care,  fall  instantly  asleep 
in  spite  of  the  noise  and  discomfort  by  which  they  are  surrounded. 
This  counterfeit  of  death  is  more  equalizing,  as  Don  Quixote  says, 
than  death  itself,  for  an  honest  Spanish  muleteer  stretched  on  his 
hard  pallet  sleeps  sounder  than  many  an  uneasy  trickster  head 
that  wears  another's  crown.  "  Sleep,"  says  Sancho,  "  covers  one 
over  like  a  cloak,"  and  a  cloak  or  its  cognate  mantle  forms  the 
best  part  of  their  wardrobe  by  day,  and  their  bed  furniture  by 
night.  The  earth  is  now,  as  it  was  to  the  Iberians,  the  national 
bed ;  nay,  the  Spanish  word  which  expresses  that  commodity, 
cama,  is  derived  from  the  Greek  Kafxai.  Thus  they  are  lodged 
on  the  ground  floor,  and  thereby  escape  the  three  classes  of  little 
animals  which,  like  the  inseparable  Graces,  are  always  to  be 
found  in  fine  climates  in  tlie  wholesale,  and  in  Spanish  ventas  in 
the  retail.  Their  pillow  is  composed  either  of  their  pack-sad 
dies  or  saddle-bags ;  their  sleep  is  short,  but  profound.  Long 
before  daylight  all  are  in  motion  ;  "  they  take  up  their  bed,"  the 
animals  are  fed,  harnessed,  and  laden,  and  the  heaviest  sleepers 
awakened :  there  is  little  morning  toilette,  no  time  or  soap  is 
lost  by  biped  or  quadruped  in  the  processes  of  grooming  or 
lavation  :  both  carry  their  wardrobes  on  their  back,  and  trust  to 
the  shower  and  the  sun  to  cleanse  and  bleach ;  their  moderate 
accounts    are   paid,   salutations   or   execrations    (generally   the 


184  HONESTY  AND  ANTIQUITY  IN  A  VENTA.    [chap.  xv. 

latter),  according-  to  the  length  of  the  bills,  pass  between  them 
and  their  landlords,  and  another  day  of  toil  begins.  Our  faithful 
and  trustworthy  squire  seldom  failed  for  a  couple  of  hours  after 
leaving  the  venta  to  pour  forth  an  eloquent  stream  of  oaths,  in- 
vectives, and  lamentations  at  the  dearness  of  inns,  the  rascality 
of  their  keepers  in  general,  and  of  the  host  of  the  preceding 
night  in  particular,  although  probably  a  couple  of  dollars  had 
cleared  the  account  for  a  couple  of  men  and  animals,  and  he 
himself  had  divided  the  extra-extortion  with  the  honest  ventero. 

These  Spanish  venta  scenes  vary  every  day  and  night,  as  a  new 
set  of  actors  make  their  first  and  last  appearance  before  the  tra- 
veller :  of  one  thing  there  can  be  no  mistake,  he  has  got  out  of 
England,  and  tlie  present  year  of  our  Lord.  Their  undeniable 
smack  of  antiquity  gives  them  a  relish,  a  horracha,  which  is  un- 
known in  Great  Britain,  where  all  is  fused  and  modernized  down 
to  last  Saturday  night ;  here  alone  can  you  see  and  study  those 
manners  and  events  which  must  have  occurred  on  the  same  sites 
when  Hannibal  and  Scipio  were  last  tliere,  as  it  would  be  very 
easy  to  work  out  from  the  classical  authors.  We  would  just  suggest 
a  comparison  between  the  arrangement  of  the  Spanish  country 
venta  with  that  of  the  Roman  inn  now  uncovered  at  the  en- 
trance of  Pompeii,  and  its  exact  counterpart,  the  modern  "  o*- 
teria"  in  the  same  district  of  Kaples.  In  the  Museo  Borbonico 
will  be  found  types  of  most  of  the  utensils  now  used  in  Spain, 
while  the  Oriental  and  most  ancient  style  of  cuisine  is  equally 
easy  to  be  identified  with  the  notices  left  us  in  the  cookery  books  of 
antiquity.  The  same  may  be  said  of  the  tambourines,  castanets, 
songs,  and  dances, — in  a  word,  of  everything ;  and,  indeed,  when 
all  are  hushed  in  sleep,  and  stretched  like  corpses  amid  their 
beasts,  the  Valencians  especially,  in  their  sandals  and  kilts,  in 
their  mantas,  and  in  and  on  their  rush-baskets  and  mattings,  we 
feel  that  Strabo  nmst  have  belield  tiie  old  Iberians  exactly  in 
the  same  costume  and  position,  when  he  told  us  what  we  see 
now  to  be  true,  to  ttXiov  tv  aayoiCy  £v  oig  Tep  Kai  (TTijoa^oKOiTOvai. 

The  "  ventorilld"  is  a  lower  class  of  venta — for  there  is  a  deeper 
bathos  ;  it  is  the  German  kncipe  or  hedge  ale-house,  and  is  often 
nothing  more  than  a  mere  hut,  run  up  with  reeds  or  branches  of 
trees  by  the  road-side,  at  which  water,  bad  wine,  and  brandy, 
•'  aguardiente"  tooth  water,  are  to  be  sold.     The  latter  is  always 


detestable,  raw,  and  disflavoured  with  aniseed,  and  turns  white 
in  water  like  Eau  de  Cologne,  not  that  the  natives  ever  expose 
it  to  such  a  trial.  These  "  ventorillos"  are  at  best  suspicious 
places,  and  the  haunts  of  the  spies  of  regular  robbers,  or  of 
skulking  footpads  when  there  are  any,  who  lurk  inside  with  the 
proprietress ;  she  herself  generally  might  sit  as  a  model  for 
Hecate,  or  for  one  of  the  witches  in  Shakspere  o\'er  their  caul- 
dron ;  her  attendant  imps  are,  however,  sufficiently  interesting 
personages  to  form  a  chapter  by  themselves. 

186  SPANISH  ROBBERS.  [chap.  xTi. 


Spanish  Robbers — A  Robber  Adventure — Guardias  Ci'V'iles — Exaggerated 
Accounts — Cross  of  the  Murdered — Idle  Robber  Tales — French  Ban- 
dittiphobia  —  Robber  History — Guerrilleros  —  Smugglers — Jose  Maria — 
Robbers  of  the  First  Class — The  Ratero — Miguelites — Escorts  and  Es- 
copeteros — Passes,  Protections,  and  Talismans — Execution  of  a  Robber. 

An  oUa  without  bacon  would  scarcely  be  less  insipid  than  a 
volume  on  Spain  without  banditti ;  the  stimulant  is  not  less  neces- 
sary for  the  established  taste  of  the  home-market,  than  brandy  is 
for  pale  sherries  neat  as  imported.  In  the  mean  time,  while  the 
timid  hesitate  to  put  their  heads  into  this  supposed  den  of 
thieves  as  much  as  into  a  house  that  is  haunted,  tliose  who  are 
not  scared  by  sliadows,  and  do  not  share  in  tlie  fears  of  cockney 
critics  and  delicate  writers  in  satin-paper  albums,  but  adventure 
boldly  into  the  hornet's  nest,  come  back  in  a  firm  belief  of  the 
non-existence  of  the  robber  genus.  In  Spain,  that  pays  de 
riniprevu,  this  unexpected  absence  of  personages  who  render 
roads  uncomfortable,  is  one  of  the  many  and  not  disagreeable 
surprises,  which  await  those  who  prefer  to  judge  of  a  country  by 
going  there  theniselves,  rather  than  to  put  implicit  faith  in  the 
foregone  conclusions  and  stereotyped  prejudices  of  those  who 
have  not,  although  they  do  sit  in  judgment  on  those  wlio  have, 
and  decide  "  without  a  view."  This  very  summer,  some  dozen 
and  more  friends  of  ours  have  made  tours  in  various  parts  of  the 
Peninsula,  driving  and  riding  unarmed  and  unescorted  through 
localities  of  former  suspicion,  without  having  the  good  luck  of 
meeting  even  with  the  ghost  of  a  departed  robber ;  in  truth  and 
fact,  we  cannot  but  remember  that  such  things  as  monks  and 
banditti  were,  although  they  must  be  spoken  of  rather  in  the 
past  tlian  in  the  present  tense. 

The  actual  security  of  the  Spanisli  highways  is  due  to  the 
Moderados,  as  the  French  party  and  imitators  of  the  juste 
milieu   are  called,  and  at  the  head  of  whom   may  be   placed 


SeHior  Martinez  de  la  Rosa.  He,  indeed,  is  a  moderate  in 
poetry  as  well  as  politics,  and  a  rare  specimen  of  that  sublime  of 
mediocrity  which,  according  to  Horace,  neither  men,  gods,  nor 
booksellers  can  tolerate ;  his  reputation  as  an  autlior  and  states- 
man— alas  !  poor  Cervantes  and  Cisneros — proves  too  truly  the 
present  efFeteness  of  Spain.  Her  pen  and  her  sword  are 
blunted,  her  laurels  are  sear,  and  her  womb  is  barren  ;  but, 
among  the  blind,  he  who  has  one  eye  is  king. 

This  dramatist,  in  the  May  of  1833,  Avas  summoned  from  his 
exile  at  Granada  to  Madrid  by  the  suspicious  Calomarde.  The 
mail  in  which  he  travelled  was  stopped  by  robbers  about  ten 
o'clock  of  a  wet  night  near  Almuradiel ; — the  guard.,  at  the  first 
notice,  throwing  himself  on  his  belly,  with  his  tace  in  the  mud, 
in  imitation  of  the  postilions,  who  pay  great  respect  to  the  gen- 
tlemen of  the  road.  The  passengers  consisted  of  himself,  a  Ger- 
man artist,  and  an  English  friend  of  ours  now  in  London,  and 
who,  having  given  up  his  well-garnished  purse  at  once  with 
great  good-humour,  was  most  courteously  treated  by  tlie  well- 
satisfied  recipients :  not  so  the  Deutscher,  on  whom  tliey  were 
about  to  do  personal  violence  in  revenge  for  a  scanty  scrip,  had 
not  his  profession  been  explained  by  our  friend,  by  whose  in- 
terference he  was  let  off.  Meanwhile,  i\\e  Don  was  hiding  his 
watch  in  the  carriage  lining,  which  he  cut  open,  and  was  con- 
cealing his  few  dollars,  the  existence  of  which  when  questioned 
he  stoutly  denied.  They,  however,  re-appeared  under  threats  of 
the  bastinado,  which  were  all  but  inflicted.  The  passengers  were 
then  permitted  to  depart  in  peace,  the  leader  of  their  spoilers 
having  first  shaken  hands  with  our  informant,  and  wished  him  a 
pleasant  journey  :  "  May  your  grace  go  with  God  and  without 
novelty ;"  adding,  "  You  are  a  cahaUero,  a  gentleman,  as  all 
the  Englisli  are ;  the  German  is  a  pobrecito,  a  poor  devil ;  the 
Spaniard  is  an  emhustero,  a  regular  swindler."  This  latter 
gentleman,  thus  hardly  delineated  by  his  Lavater  countryman, 
has  since  more  than  gotten  back  his  cash,  having  risen  to  be 
prime  minister  to  Christina,  and  humble  and  devoted  servant  of 
Louis-Philippe,  cosas  de  EspaTia. 

Possibly  tliis  little  incident  may  have  facilitated  the  introduc- 
tion of  tlie  niounted  guards,  who  are  now  stationed  in  towns, 
and  by  whom  the  roads  are  rei?-idarly  patrolled  ;  they  are  called 

188  GUAKDIAS  CIVILES.  [chap.  xvi. 

guardias  civiles,  and  have  replaced  the  ancient  "  brotherhood  " 
of  Ferdinand  and  Isabella.  As  tliey  have  been  dressed  and 
modelled  after  the  fashion  of  the  transpyrenean  gendarmerie, 
the  Spaniards,  who  never  lose  a  chance  of  a  happy  nickname, 
or  of  a  fling  at  the  things  of  their  neighbour,  whom  they  do  not 
love,  term  them,  either  Polizontes  or  Polizones,  words  with 
which  they  have  enriclied  their  phraseology,  and  that  represent 
the  French  polissons,  scoundrels,  or  they  call  them  Hijos  de  Luis- 
Philipe,  "  sons  of  Louis-Pliilippe  ;"  for  they  are  ill-bred  enough, 
in  spite  of  the  Montpensier  marriage,  and  the  Nelsonic  achieve- 
ments of  Monsieur  de  Joinville,  to  consider  the  words  as 

The  number  of  these  rogues,  French  king's  sons,  civil  guards, 
call  them  as  you  will,  exceeds  five  thousand.  During  the  recent 
Machiavelianisms  of  their  putative  father,  they  have  been  quite 
as  much  employed  in  the  towns  as  on  the  highway,  and  for 
political  purposes  rather  than  those  of  pure  police,  having  been 
used  to  keep  down  the  expression  of  indignant  public  opinion,  and, 
instead  of  catching  thieves,  in  upholding  those  first-rate  criminals, 
foreign  and  domestic,  who  are  now  robbiiig  poor  Spain  of  her 
gold  and  liberties;  but  so  it  has  always  been.  Indeed,  when  we 
first  arrived  in  the  Peninsula,  and  naturally  made  enquiries  about 
banditti,  according  to  all  sensible  Spaniards,  it  was  not  on  the 
road  that  they  were  most  likely  to  be  found,  but  in  the  confes- 
sional boxes,  the  lawyers'  offices,  and  still  more  in  the  bureaux 
of  government ;  and  even  in  England  some  think  that  purses 
are  exposed  to  more  danger  in  Chancery  Lane  and  Stone  Build- 
ings, than  in  the  worst  cross-road,  or  the  most  rocky  mountain 
pass  in  the  Peninsula. 

It  will  be  long,  however,  before  this  "  great  fact "  is  believed 
within  the  sound  of  Bow-bells,  where  many  of  those  who  provide 
the  reading  public  with  correct  information,  dislike  having  to 
eat  their  own  words,  and  to  have  their  settled  opinions  shaken  or 
contradicted.  Nor  is  it  pleasant  at  a  certain  time  of  life  to  go 
again  to  school,  as  one  does  when  studying  Niebuhr's  Roman 
History,  and  then  to  find  that  the  alphabet  must  be  re-begun,  since 
all  that  was  thought  to  be  right  is  in  fact  wrong.  Distant 
Spain  is  ever  looked  at  through  a  telescope  which  either  magnifies 
richness  and  goodness,  from  which  half  at  least  must  be  deducted 


according  to  the  proverb,  de  los  dineros  y  bondad,  se  ha  de 
quitar  la  mitad,  or  darkens  its  dangers  and  difficulties  through 
a  discoloured  medium.  A  bad  name  given  to  a  dog  or  country 
is  very  adhesive ;  and  the  many  will  repeat  each  other  in 
cuckoo-note.  "  II  y  a  des  choses,"  says  Montesquieu,  "  que 
tout  le  monde  dit,  parcequ'elles  out  ete  dites  une  fois  ;"  thus  one 
silly  sheep  makes  many,  who  will  follow  their  leader ;  cvejas  y 
bobas,  donde  va  wia,  van  todas.  So  in  the  end  error  becomes 
stamped  with  current  authority,  and  is  received,  until  the  false, 
imaginary  picture  is  alone  esteemed,  and  the  true,  original  por- 
trait scouted  as  a  cheat. 

It  has  so  long  and  annually  been  considered  permissible,  when 
writing  about  romantic  Spain,  to   take  leave  of  common  sense, 
to  ascend  on  stilts,  and  converse  in  the  Cambyses  vein,  that  those 
who  descend  to  humble  prose,  and  confine  themselves  to  com- 
monplace matter-of-fact,  are  considered  not  only  to  be  insesthetic, 
unpoetical,  and  unimaginative,  but  deficient  in  truth  and  power 
of  observation.     The  genius  of  the  land,  when  speaking  of  itself 
and  its  things,  is  prone  to  say  the  thing  which  is  not ;  and  it 
must  be  admitted  that  the  locality  lends  itself  often  and  readily  to 
misconceptions.     The  leagues  and  leagues  of  lonely  hills  and 
wastes,  over  which  beasts  of  prey  roam,  and  above  wliich  vultures 
sulkily  rising  part  the  light  air  with   heavy  wing,  are  easily 
peopled,  by  those  who  are  in  a  prepared  train  of  mind,  with 
equally  rapacious  bipeds  of  Plato's  unfeathered  species.     Rocky 
passes,  contrived  as  it  were  on  purpose  for  ambuscades,  tangled 
glens  overrun  with  underwood,  in  spite  of  the  prodigality  of  beauty 
which  arrests  the  artist,  suggest  the  lair  of  snakes  and  robbers. 
i!^or   is  the  feeling  diminished   by  meeting  the  fi-equent  crosses 
set  up  on  classically  piled  heaps,  which  mark  the  grave  of  some 
murdered  man,  whose  simple,  touching  epitaph   tells  the  name 
of  the  departed,  the  date  of  the  treacherous  stab,  and  entreats 
the  passenger,  who  is  as  he  was,  and  may  be  in  an  instant  as 
he   is,  to   pray  for   his  unannealed  soul.     A  shadow  of  death 
hovers  over   such  spots,  and  throws   the  stranger  on  his  own 
thoughts,  which,  from  early  associations,  are  somewhat  in  unison 
with  the  scene.     Nor  is  the  welcome  of  the  outstretched  arms 
of  these  crosses  over-hearty,   albeit  they  are  sometimes  hung 
with  flowers,  which  mock  the  dead.     JNor  are  all  sermons  more 

190  EXAGGERATED  ROBBER  NOTIONS.        [chap.  xvi. 

eloquent  than  these  silent  stones,  on  which  such  brief  emblems 
are  fixed.  The  Spaniards,  from  long  habit,  are  less  affected  by 
them  than  foreigners,  being  all  accustomed  to  behold  crosses 
and  bleeding  crucifixes  in  churches  and  out ;  they  moreover  well 
know  that  by  far  the  greater  projiortion  of  tliese  memorials  have 
been  raised  to  record  murders,  which  have  not  been  perpetrated 
by  robbers,  but  are  the  results  of  sudden  quarrel  or  of  long 
brooded-over  revenge,  and  that  wine  and  women,  nine  times  out 
of  ten,  are  at  the  bottom  of  the  calamity.  Nevertheless,  it 
makes  a  stout  English  heart  uncomfortable,  although  it  is  of 
little  use  to  be  afraid  when  one  is  in  for  it,  and  on  the  spot. 
Then  there  is  no  better  chance  of  escape,  than  to  brave  the  peril 
and  to  ride  on.  Turn,  therefore,  dear  reader,  a  deaf  ear  to  the 
tales  of  local  terror  which  will  be  told  in  every  out-of-the-way 
village  by  the  credulous,  timid  inhabitants.  You,  as  we  have 
oflen  been,  will  be  congratulated  on  having  passed  such  and 
such  a  wood,  and  will  be  assured  that  you  will  infallibly  be 
robbed  at  such  and  such  a  spot  a  few  leagues  onward.  We  have 
always  found  that  this  ignis  fatuus,  like  the  horizon,  has  receded 
as  we  advanced ;  the  dangerous  spot  is  either  a  little  behind  or 
a  little  before  the  actual  place — it  vanishes,  as  most  difficulties 
do,  when  boldly  approached  and  grappled  with. 

At  the  same  time  these  sorts  of  places  and  events  admit  of 
much  fine  writing  when  people  get  safely  back  again,  to  say 
nothing  of  the  dignity  and  heroic  elevation  which  may  be  thus 
obtained  by  such  an  exhibition  of  valour  during  the  long  vaca- 
tion. Peaked  hats,  hair-breadtii  escapes  from  long  knives  and 
mustacliios,  lying  down  for  an  hour  on  your  stomach  with  your 
mouth  in  the  mud,  are  little  interludes  so  diameti-ically  opposed 
to  civilization,  and  the  humdrum,  unpicturesque  routine  of  free 
Britons  wlio  pay  way  and  police  rates,  that  they  form  almost 
irresistible  topics  to  tlie  pen  of  a  ready  wa-iter.  And  such  ex- 
citing incidents  are  sure  to  take,  and  to  affect  the  public  at  home, 
who,  moreover,  are  much  pleased  by  the  perusal  of  autheyitic  ac- 
counts from  Spain  itself,  and  the  best  and  latest  intelligence,  which 
tally  with  their  own  preconceived  ideas  of  the  land.  Hence 
those  authors  are  the  most  popular  who  put  the  self-love  of  their 
reader  in  best  humour  with  his  own  stock  of  knowleda-e.  And 
this  accounts  for  the  frequency,  in  Peninsular  sketches,  personal 


narratives,  and  so  forth,  of  robberies  which  are  certainly  oftener 
to  be  met  with  in  their  pages  than  on  tlie  plains  of  the  Penin- 
sula. The  writers  know  that  a  bandit  adventure  is  as  much 
expected  in  the  journals  of  such  travels  as  in  one  of  Mrs.  Eat- 
cliffe's  romances ;  such  fleeting  books  are  chiefly  made  by 
"  striking  events  ;"  accordingly,  the  authors  string  together  all 
the  floating  traditional  horrors  which  they  can  scrape  together  on 
Spanish  roads,  and  thus  feed  and  keep  up  the  notion  entertained 
in  many  counties  of  England,  that  the  whole  Peninsula  is 
peopled  with  banditti.  If  such  were  the  case  society  could  not 
exist,  and  the  very  fact,  of  almost  all  of  the  reporters  having  them- 
selves escaped  by  a  miracle,  might  lead  to  the  inference  that  most 
other  persons  escape  likewise :  a  blot  is  not  a  blot  till  it  is  hit. 

Our  ingenious  neighbours,  strange  to  say  in  so  gallant  a 
people,  have  a  still  more  decided  bandittiphobia.  According  to 
what  the  badauds  of  Paris  are  told  in  print,  every  rash  indi- 
vidual, before  he  takes  his  place  in  tlie  dilly  for  Spain,  ought  by 
all  means  to  make  his  will,  as  was  done  four  hundred  years  ago 
at  starting  on  a  pilgrimage  to  Jerusalem  ;  possibly  this  may  be 
predicated  in  the  spirit  of  French  diplomacy,  which  always  has 
a  concealed  arriere  pensee,  and  it  may  be  bruited  abroad,  on  the 
principle  with  which  illicit  distillers  and  coin-forgers  give  out 
that  certain  localities  are  haunted,  in  order  to  scare  away  others, 
and  thus  preserve  for  themselves  a  quiet  possession.  Perhaps 
the  superabundance  of  I'esprit  Franqais  may  give  colour  and 
substance  to  forms  insignificant  in  themselves,  as  a  painter  lost 
in  a  brown  study  over  a  coal  fire  converts  cinders  into  castles, 
monsters,  and  other  creatures  of  his  lively  imagination  ;  or  it 
may  be,  as  conscience  makes  cowards  of  all,  that  these  gentle- 
men really  see  a  bandit  in  every  bush  of  Spain,  and  expect  from 
behind  every  rock  an  avenging  minister  of  retaliation,  in  whose 
pocket  is  a  list  of  the  church  plate,  Murillos,  &c.  which  were 
found  missing  after  their  countrymen's  invasion.  Be  that  as  it  may, 
even  so  clever  a  man  as  Monsieur  Quinet,  a  real  Dr.  Syntax, 
fills  pages  of  his  recent  Vacances  with  his  continual  trepidations, 
although,  from  having  arrived  at  his  journey's  end  without  any 
sort  of  accident,  albeit  not  without  every  kind  of  fear,  it  might 
have  crossed  him,  that  the  bugbears  existed  only  in  his  own  head, 
and  he  might  have  concealed,  in  his  pleasant  pages,  a  frame  of 

192  PSEUDO-BANDIT  LOOKS.  [chap.  xvi. 

mind  the  exhibition  of  which,  in  England  at  least,  inspires 
neither  interest  nor  respect ;  an  over-care  of  self  is  not  over-heroic. 
It  must  be  also  admitted  that  the  respectability  and  character 
of  many  a  Spaniard  is  liable  to  be  misunderstood,  when  he  sets 
forth  on  any  of  his  travels,  except  in  a  public  wheel  conveyance; 
as  we  said  in  our  ninth  chapter,  he  assumes  the  national  costume 
of  the  road,  and  leaves  his  wife  and  long-tailed  coat  behind  him. 
Now  as  most  Spaniards  are  muffled  up  and  clad  after  the  approved 
melodrame  fashion  of  robbers,  they  may  be  mistaken  for  them  in 
reality  ;  indeed  they  are  generally  sallow,  have  fierce  black  eyes, 
uncombed  hair,  and  on  these  occasions  neglect  the  daily  use  of 
towels  and  razors ;  a  long  beard  gives,  and  not  in  Spain  alone, 
a  ferocious  ruffian-like  look,  which  is  not  diminished  when  gun 
and  knife  are  added  to  match  faces  a  la  Brutus.  Again,  these 
wortliies  thus  equipped,  have  sometimes  a  trick  of  staring  rather 
fixedly  from  under  their  slouched  hat  at  the  passing  stranger, 
whose,  to  them,  outlandish  costume  excites  curiosity  and  sus- 
picion ;  naturally  therefore  some  difficulty  does  exist  in  distin- 
guishing the  merino  from  the  wolf,  wlien  both  are  disguised  in 
the  same  clothing — a  zamarra  sheepskin  to  wit.  A  private 
Spanish  gentleman,  who,  in  his  native  town,  would  be  the  model 
of  a  peaceable  and  inoflf'ensive  burgess,  or  a  respectable  haber- 
dasher, has,  when  on  his  commercial  tour,  altogether  the  appear- 
ance of  the  Bravo  of  Venice,  and  such-like  heroes,  by  whom 
children  are  frightened  at  a  minor  theatre.  In  consequence 
of  the  difficulty  of  outliving  what  has  been  learnt  in  the  nur- 
sery, many  of  our  countrymen  have,  with  the  best  'intentions, 
set  down  the  bulk  of  tlie  population  of  the  Peninsula  as  one  gang 
of  robbers — they  have  exaggerated  their  numbers  like  Falstaff's 
men  of  buckram  ;  the  said  imagined  Rinaldo  Ilinaldinis  being 
probably  in  a  still  greater  state  of  alarm  from  having  on  their 
part  taken  our  said  countrymen  for  robbers,  and  this  mutual  mis- 
understanding continues,  until  both  explain  their  slight  mistake 
of  each  other's  character  and  intention.  Although  we  never  fell 
into  the  error  of  thus  mistaking  Spanish  peaceable  traders  for 
privateers  and  men-of-war,  yet  that  injustice  has  been  done  by 
them  to  us ;  possibly  tliis  compliment  may  have  been  paid  to  our 
careful  observation  of  the  bearing  and  garb  of  their  great  Rob 
Roy  himself  and  in  his  own  country,  which,  to  one  about  to 


undertake,  in  those  days,  long  and  solitary  rides  over  the  Penin- 
sula, was  an  unspeakable  advantage. 

But  even  in  those  perilous  times,  robberies  were  the  exception, 
not  the  rule,  in  spite  of  the  full,  whole,  and  exact  particulars  of 
natives  as  well  as  strangers ;  the  accounts  were  equally  exag- 
gerated by  both  parties ;  in  fact,  the  subject  is  the  standing  dish, 
the  common  topic  of  the  lower  classes  of  travellers,  when  talking 
and  smoking  round  the  venti  fires,  and  forms  the  natural  and 
agreeable  religio  loci,  the  associations  connected  with  wild  and 
cut-throat  localities.  Though  these  narrators'  pleasure  is  mingled 
with  fear  and  pain,  they  delight  in  such  histories  as  children  do 
in  goblin  tales.  Their  Oriental  amplification  is  inferior  only  to 
their  credulity,  its  twin  sister,  and  they  end  in  believing  their  own 
lies.  Whenever  a  robbery  really  does  take  place,  the  report 
spreads  far  and  wide,  and  gains  in  detail  and  atrocity,  for  no  mule- 
teer's story  or  sailor's  yarn  loses  in  the  telling.  The  same  dire 
event, — names,  dates,  and  localities  only  varied, — is  served  up,  as  a 
monkish  miracle  in  the  mediseval  ages  was,  at  many  other  places, 
and  thus  becomes  infinitely  multiplied.  It  is  talked  of  for  months 
all  over  the  country,  while  the  thousands  of  daily  passengers 
who  journey  on  unluirt  are  never  mentioned.  It  is  like  the  lot- 
tery, in  which  the  great  prize  alone  attracts  attention,  not  the 
infinite  majority  of  blanks.  These  robber-tales  reach  the  cities, 
and  are  often  believed  by  most  respectable  people,  who  pass  their 
lives  without  stirring  a  league  beyond  the  walls.  They  sympa- 
thize with  all  who  are  compelled  to  expose  themselves  to  the 
great  pains  and  perils,  the  travail  of  travel,  and  they  endeavour 
with  the  most  good-natured  intentions  to  dissuade  rash  adven- 
turers from  facing  them,  by  stating  as  facts,  the  apprehensions  of 
their  own  credulity  and  imagination. 

The  muleteers,  venleros,  and  masses  of  common  Spaniards 
see  in  the  anxious  faces  of  timid  strangers,  that  tlieir  audience  is 
in  the  listening  and  believing  vein,  and  as  they  are  garrulous  and 
egotists  by  nature,  they  seize  on  a  theme  in  which  they  alone  hold 
forth  ;  they  are  pleased  at  being  considered  an  authority,  and 
with  the  superiority  which  conveying  information  gives,  and  the 
power  of  inspiring  fear  confers  ;  their  mother-wit,  in  which  few 
nations  surpass  them,  soon  discovers  tlie  sort  of  information 
which  "  our  correspondent"  is  in  want  of,  and  as  words  here  cost 

194  SPANISH  ROBBER  HISTORY.  [chap,  xvr, 

nothing,  the  gulping  gobemouche  is  plentifully  supplied  with 
the  required  article.  These  reports  are  in  due  time  set  up  in 
type,  and  are  believed  because  in  print ;  thus  the  tricks  played 
on  poor  Mr.  Inglis  and  his  note-book  were  the  laiighter  of  the 
whole  Peninsula,  grave  authorities  caught  the  generous  infection, 
until  Mr.  Mark's  robber-jokes  at  Malaga  were  booked  and  swal- 
lowed as  if  he  had  been  an  apostle  instead  of  a  consul. 

As  it  was  our  fate  to  have  wandered  up  and  down  the  Peninsula 
when  Ferdinand  VII.  was  king  of  the  Spains,  and  Jose  Maria, 
at  whose  name  old  men  and  women  there  tremble  yet,  was 
autocrat  of  Andalucia,  the  moment  was  propitious  for  study- 
ing the  philosophy  of  Spanish  banditti,  and  our  speculations 
were  much  benefited  by  a  fortunate  acquaintance  with  the 
redoubtable  chief  himself,  from  whom,  as  well  as  from  many  of 
his  intelligent  followers,  we  received  much  kindness  and  valuable 
information,  which  is  acknowledged  with  thankfulness. 

Historically  speaking,  Spain  has  never  enjoyed  a  good  cha- 
racter in  this  matter  of  the  hiarhwav ;  it  had  but  an  indifferent 
reputation  in  the  days  of  antiquity,  but  then,  as  now,  it  was 
generally  the  accusation  of  foreigners.  The  Romans,  who  had 
no  business  to  invade  it,  were  harassed  by  the  native  guerrilleros, 
those  undisciplined  bands  who  waged  the  "  little  war,"  which 
Iberia  always  did.  Worried  by  these  unmilitary  voltigeurs, 
they  called  all  Spaniards  who  resisted  them  '•'■  latrones  ;^  just 
as  the  French  invaders,  from  the  same  reasons,  called  them 
ladrones  or  brigands,  because  they  had  no  uniform  ;  as  if  the 
wearing  a  schako  given  by  a  plundering  marslial,  could  convert 
a  pillager  into  a  honest  man,  or  the  want  of  it  could  change  into 
a  thief,  a  noble  patriot  who  was  defending  his  own  property  and 
country ;  but  I'habit  ne  fait  pas  le  moine,  say  the  French,  and 
aunque  la  mona  se  viste  de  seda,  monase  ipieda,  although  a  mon- 
key di'esses  in  silk,  monkey  it  remains,  rejoin  the  Spaniards. 

Armed  men  are  in  fact  the  weed  of  the  soil  of  Spain,  in  peace 
or  war ;  to  iiave  their  hand  against  all  mankind  seems  to  be  an 
instinct  in  every  descendant  of  Ishmael,  and  particularly  among 
this  Quixotic  branch,  whose  knight-errants,  reformers  on  horse- 
back, have  not  unfrequently  been  robbers  in  the  guise  of  gentle- 
men. During  the  war  against  Buonaparte,  the  Peninsula 
swarmed  with  insurgents,  many  of  whom  were  inspired,    by  a 


sense  of  loyalty,  with  indignation  at  their  outraged  religion,  and 
with  a  deep-rooted  national  loathing  of  the  gahacho,  and  good 
service  did  these  Minas  and  Co.  do  to  the  cause  of  their  lawful 
king ;  but  others  used  patriotic  professions  as  specious  cloaks  to 
cover  their  instinctive  passion  for  a  lawless  and  freebooting 
career,  and  before  the  liberation  of  the  country  was  effected,  had 
become  formidable  to  all  parties  alike.  The  Duke  of  Wellington, 
with  his  characteristic  sagacity,  foresaw,  at  his  victorious  conclu- 
sion of  the  struggle,  how  difficult  it  would  be  to  weed  out  "  this 
strange  fruit  borne  on  a  tree  grafted  by  patriotism."  The  transi- 
tion from  murdering  a  Frenchman,  to  plundering  a  stranger, 
appeared  a  simple  process  to  these  patriotic  scions,  whose 
numbers  were  swelled  with  all  who  were,  or  who  considered 
themselves  to  be,  ill  used — with  all  who  could  not  dig,  and  were 
ashamed  to  beg.  The  evil  was  diminished  during  the  latter 
years  of  tiie  reign  of  Ferdinand  VII.,  when  the  old  hands  began 
to  die  oif,  and  an  advance  in  social  improvement  was  imquestion- 
ably  general,  before  which  these  lawless  occupations  gave  way, 
as  surely  as  wild  animals  of  prey  do  before  improved  cultivation. 
These  evils,  that  are  abated  by  internal  quiet  and  the  continued 
exertions  of  the  authorities,  increase  v/ith  troubled  times,  wliich, 
as  the  tempest  calls  forth  the  stormy  petrel,  rouse  into  dan- 
gerous action  the  worst  portions  of  society,  and  create  a  sort  of 
civil  cachexia,  as  we  now  see  in  Ireland. 

Another  source  was,  not  to  say  is,  Gibraltar,  that  hot-bed  of 
contraband,  tliat  nursery  of  the  smuggler,  the  prima  materia  of 
a  robber  and  murderer.  The  financial  ignorance  of  the  Spanish 
government  calls  him  in,  to  correct  the  errors  of  Chancellors  of 
Exchequers  : — ''  trovata  la  legge,  trovato  I'inganno."  The  fiscal 
regulations  are  so  ingeniously  absurd,  complicated,  and  vexatious, 
that  the  honest,  legitimate  merchant  is  as  much  embarrassed  as 
the  irregular  trader  is  favoured.  The  operation  of  excessive 
duties  on  objects  which  people  must,  and  therefore  will  have,  is 
as  strikingly  exemplified  in  the  case  of  tobacco  in  Andalucia,  as 
it  is  in  that,  and  many  other  articles  on  the  Kent  and  Sussex 
coasts :  in  both  countries  the  fiscal  scourge  leads  to  breaches  of 
the  peace,  injury  to  the  fair  dealer,  and  loss  to  the  revenue ;  it 
renders  idle,  predatory  and  ferocious,  a  peasantry  which,  under  a 
wiser  system,  and  if  not  exposed  to   overpowering  temptation, 

19G  SMUGGLERS.  [chap.  xvi. 

might  become  virtuous  and  industrious.  In  Spain  the  evasion  of 
such  laws  is  only  considered  as  cheating  those  who  cheat  the 
people  ;  the  villagers  are  heart  and  soul  in  favour  of  the  smuggler, 
as  they  are  of  the  poacher  in  England;  all  their  prejudices  are 
on  his  side.  Some  of  the  mountain  curates,  whose  flocks  are  all 
in  that  line,  deal  with  the  crime  in  their  sermons  as  a  conven- 
tional, not  a  moral,  one ;  and,  like  other  people,  decorate  their 
mantelpieces  with  a  painted  clay  figure  of  the  sinner  in  his 
full  majo  dress.  The  smuggler  himself,  so  far  from  feeling 
degraded,  enjoys  the  reputation  vviiich  attends  success  in  per- 
sonal adventure,  among  a  people  proud  of  individual  prowess ; 
he  is  the  hero  of  the  Spanish  stage,  and  comes  on  equipped  in 
full  costume,  with  his  blunderbuss,  to  sing  the  well-known  "  Yo  i 
que  soy  contrabandistal  yofioT''  to  the  delight  of  all  listeners  from 
the  Straits  to  the  Bidasoa,  custom-house  officers  not  excepted. 

The  prestige  of  such  a  theatrical  exhibition,  like  the  '  Robbers ' 
of  Schiller,  is  enough  to  make  all  tlie  students  of  Salamanca 
take  to  the  high-road.  The  contrabandista  is  the  Turpin,  the 
Macheath  of  reality,  and  those  heroes  of  the  old  ballads  and  theatres 
of  England,  who  have  disappeared  more  in  consequence  of  enclo- 
sures, rapid  conveyances,  and  macadamization  (for  there  is 
nothing  so  liateful  to  a  highwayman  as  gas  and  a  turnpike),  tli^n 
from  fear  of  the  prison  or  the  halter.  The  writings  of  Smollett, 
the  recollections  of  many  now  alive  of  the  dangers  of  Hounslovv 
Heath  and  Finchley  Common,  recall  scenes  of  life  and  manners 
from  which  we  have  not  long  emerged,  and  which  have  still 
more  recently  been  corrected  in  Spain.  The  contrabandista  in 
his  real  character  is  welcome  in  every  village  ;  he  is  the  news- 
paper and  channel  of  intelligence ;  he  brings  tea  and  gossip  for 
tlie  curate,  money  and  cigars  for  the  attorney,  ribands  and 
cottons  for  the  women  ;  he  is  magnificently  dressed,  which  has  a 
great  charm  for  all  Moro-Iberian  eyes ;  he  is  bold  and  resolute 
— "  none  but  the  brave  deserve  the  fair  ;"  a  good  rider  and  shot ; 
he  knows  every  inch  of  the  intricate  country,  wood  or  water,  hill 
or  dale ;  in  a  word,  he  is  admirably  educated  for  the  high-road 
— for  what  Froissart,  speaking  of  the  celebrated  Amerigot 
Tetenoire,  calls  "a  fayre  and  godlie  life."  And  the  transition 
from  plundering  the  king's  revenue,  to  taking  one  of  his  subjects' 
purse  on  the  highway,  is  easy. 


Many  circumstances  combined  to  make  this  freebooting  career 
popular  among  the  lower  classes.  The  delight  of  power,  the 
exhibition  of  daring  and  valour,  the  temptation  of  sudden  wealth, 
always  so  attractive  to  half-civilized  nations,  who  prefer  the  rich 
spoil  won  by  the  bravery  of  an  hour,  to  that  of  the  drudgery  of 
years ;  the  gorgeous  apparel,  the  lavish  expenditure,  the  song, 
the  wassail,  the  smiles  of  the  fair,  and  all  the  joyous  life  of  liberty, 
freemasonry,  and  good  fellowship,  operated  with  irresistible  force 
on  a  warlike,  energetic,  and  imaginative  population. 

Tills  smuggling  was  the  origin  of  Jose  Maria's  career,  who 
rose  to  tlie  highest  rank  and  honours  of  his  profession,  as  did 
Napoleo7i  le  Grand  and  "  Jonathan  Wild  the  Great,"  and  prin- 
cipally, as  Fielding  says  of  his  hero,  by  a  power  of  doing  mis- 
chief, and  a  principle  of  considering  honesty  to  be  a  corruption 
oihonosty,  the  qualities  of  an  ass  (ovoq).  But  it  is  a  great  mistake 
to  suppose  that  there  always  are  men  fitted  to  be  captains  of 
formidable  gangs ;  nature  is  chary  in  the  production  of  such 
specimens  of  dangerous  grandeur,  and  as  ages  may  elapse 
before  the  world  is  cursed  with  another  Alaric,  Buonaparte,  or 
Wild,  so  years  may  pass  before  Spain  witnesses  again  another 
Jose  Maria. 

The  Ladron  en  grande,  the  robber  on  a  great  scale,  is  the 
grandee  of  the  first  class  in  his  order ;  he  is  the  captain  of  a 
regularly-organized  band  of  followers,  from  eight  to  fourteen  in 
number,  well  armed  and  mounted,  and  entirely  under  command 
and  discipline.  These  are  very  formidable  ;  and  as  they  seldom 
attack  any  travellers  except  with  overwhelming  forces,  and 
under  circumstances  of  ambuscade  and  surprise,  where  every 
thing  is  in  their  favour,  resistance  is  generally  useless,  and  can 
only  lead  to  fatal  accidents.  Never,  for  the  sake  of  a  sac  de  nuit, 
risk  being  sent  to  Erebus  ;  submit,  therefore,  at  once  and  with 
good  grace  to  the  summons,  which  will  take  no  denial,  of"  ahajo" 
down,  "  hoca  d  tierra"  mouth  to  the  earth.  Those  who  have  a 
score  or  so  of  dollars,  four  or  five  pounds,  the  loss  of  which  will 
ruin  no  man,  are  very  rarely  ill-used  ;  a  frank,  confident,  and  good- 
humoured  surrender  not  only  prevents  any  bad  treatment,  but 
secures  even  civility  during  the  disagreeable  operation :  pistols 
and  sabres  are,  after  all,  a  poor  defence  compared  to  civil  words, 
as  Mr.  Cribb  used  to  say.     The  Spaniard,  by  nature  high-bred 


198  FIRST-CLASS  BANDITS.  [chap.  xvi. 

and  a  "  caballero"  responds  to  any  appeal  to  qualities  of  which 
he  thinks  liis  nation  has  reason  to  be  proud  ;  he  respects  coolness 
of  manner,  in  which  bold  men,  although  robbers,  sympathise. 
Why  should  a  man,  because  he  loses  a  few  dollars,  lose  also  his 
presence  of  mind  or  temper,  or  perhaps  life  ?  Nor  are  these  gran- 
dees of  the  system  without  a  certain  magnanimity,  as  Cervantes 
knew  right  well.  Witness  his  graphic  account  of  Roque  Guinart, 
whose  conduct  to  his  victims  and  beliaviour  to  his  comrades  tallied, 
to  our  certain  knowledge,  with  that  observed  by  Jose  Maria,  and 
was  perfectly  analogous  to  the  similar  traits  of  character  exhi- 
bited by  the  Italian  bandit  Ghino  de  Tacco,  the  immortalized 
by  Dante,  as  well  as  by  our  Robin  Hood  and  Diana's  foresters. 
Being  strong,  tliey  could  afford  to  be  generous  and  merciful. 

Notwithstanding  these  moral  securities,  if  only  by  way  of 
making  assurance  doubly  sure,  ati  Englishman  will  do  well  when 
travelling  in  exposed  districts  to  be  provided  with  a  decent  bag 
of  dollars,  which  makes  a  handsome  purse,  feels  lieavy  in  the 
hand,  and  is  that  sort  of  amount  which  the  Spanish  brigand 
thinks  a  native  of  our  proverbially  rich  country  ouglit  to  have 
with  him  on  his  travels.  He  has  a  remarkable  tact  in  estimating 
from  the  look  of  an  individual,  his  equipage,  «&c.,  how  much 
ready  money  it  is  befitting  his  condition  for  him  to  have  about 
him  ;  if  the  sum  should  not  be  enough,  he  resents  severely  his 
being  robbed  of  the  regular  perquisite  to  which  he  considers  him- 
self entitled  by  the  long-established  usage  of  the  high-road.  The 
person  unprovided  altogether  with  cash  is  generally  made  a  severe 
example  of,  pour  encourager  les  autres,  either  by  being  well 
beaten  or  stripped  to  tlie  skin,  after  the  fashion  of  the  thieves 
of  old,  near  Jericho.  Tlie  traveller  should  have  a  watch  of 
some  kind — one  with  a  gaudy  gilt  chain  and  seals  is  the  best 
suited ;  not  to  have  one  exposes  him  to  more  indignities  than  a 
scantily- filled  purse.  The  money  may  have  been  spent,  but  the 
absence  of  a  watch  can  only  be  accounted  for  by  a  premeditated 
intention  of  not  being  robbed  of  it,  which  the  '■'■  ladron"  con- 
siders as  a  most  unjustifiable  attempt  to  defraud  him  of  his  right. 

The  Spanish  "  ladrones "  are  generally  armed  with  a  blun- 
derbuss, tliat  hangs  at  their  high-peaked  saddles,  which  are 
covered  with  a  white  or  blue  fleece,  emblematical  enough  of 
shearing  propensities  ;  therefore,  perhaps,  the  order  of  the  golden 

CHAP.  XVI.]  THE  RATERO.  199 

fleece  has  been  given  to  certain  foreigners,  in  reward  for  having 
eased  Spain  of  her  independence  and  Murillos.  Their  dress  is 
for  the  most  part  very  rich,  and  in  the  highest  style  of  the  fancy  ; 
hence  they  are  the  envy  and  models  of  the  lower  classes,  being 
arrayed  after  tlie  fashion  of  the  smuggler,  or  the  bull-fighter,  or 
in  a  word,  the  "  7najo "  or  dandy  of  Andalucia,  which  is  the 
home  and  head-quarters  of  all  those  who  aspire  to  the  elegant 
accomplishments  and  professions  just  alluded  to.  The  next 
class  of  robbers — omitting  some  minor  distinctions,  such  as  the 
"  salteadores  "  or  two  or  three  persons  who  lie  in  ambuscade  and 
jump  out  on  the  unprepared  traveller — is  the  "  ratero"  "  the 
rat."  He  is  not  brought  regularly  up  to  the  profession  and 
organized,  but  takes  to  it  on  a  sudden,  and  for  the  special  occa- 
sion which,  according  to  the  proverb,  makes  a  thief.  La  ocasion 
hace  al  ladron ;  and  having  committed  his  petty  larceny,  returns 
to  his  pristine  occupation  or  avocation. 

The  "  ruterillo,"  or  small  rat,  is  a  skulking  footpad,  who 
seldom  attacks  any  but  single  and  unprotected  passengers,  who, 
if  they  get  robbed,  have  no  one  to  blame  but  themselves ;  for 
no  man  is  justified  in  exposing  Spaniards  to  the  temptation  of 
doing  a  little  something  in  that  line.  The  shepherd  with  his 
sheep,  the  ploughman  at  his  plougli,  the  vine-dresser  amid  his 
grapes,  all  have  their  gun,  ostensibly  for  their  individual  protec- 
tion, which  furnishes  means  of  assaidt  and  battery  against  those 
who  have  no  other  defence  but  their  legs  and  virtue.  These 
self-same  extemporaneous  thieves  are,  however,  remarkabl}"  civil 
to  armed  and  prepared  travellers  ;  to  them  they  touch  their  hats, 
and  exclaim,  "Good  day  to  you,  my  lord  knight,"  and  "May 
your  grace  go  with  God,"  with  all  tliat  innocent  simplicity 
which  is  observable  in  pastorals,  opera-ballets,  and  other  equally 
correct  representaiions  of  rural  life.  These  rats  aie  held  in  as 
profound  contempt  by  the  higher  classes  of  the  profession,  as 
political  ones  used  to  be,  before  parties  were  betrayed  by  turn- 
coats, who,  with  tails  and  without,  deserted  to  the  enemies'  camp. 
The  ladron  en  grande  looks  down  on  tliis  sneaking  competitor 
as  a  regular  M.D.  and  member  of  the  College  of  Physicians 
does  on  a  quack,  who  presumes  to  take  fees  and  kill  without  a 
licence.  However  despicable,  these  rats  are  very  dangerous  ; 
lacking  tlie  generous  feeling  which  the  possession  of  power  and 


200  MIGUELITES.  [chap.  xvi. 

united  force  bestows,  they  liave  the  cowardice  and  cruelty  of 
weakness :  hence  they  frequently  murder  their  victim,  because 
dead  men  tell  no  tales. 

The  distinction  between  these  higher  and  lower  classes  of 
rogues  will  be  better  understood  by  comparing  the  Napoleon 
of  war,  with  the  Napoleon  of  peace.  The  Corsican  was  the 
ladron  en  grande ;  he  warred  against  mankind,  he  led  his  armed 
followers  to  pillage  and  plunder,  he  made  his  den  the  receiving 
house  of  the  stolen  goods  of  the  Continent :  but  he  did  it  openly 
and  manfully  by  his  own  right  hand  and  good  sword ;  and  valour 
and  audacity  are  qualities  too  high  and  rare  not  to  command 
admiration — qualified,  indeed,  when  so  misapplied.  Louis-Phi- 
lippe is  a  7-atero,  who,  skulking  under  disguise  of  amity  and  good 
faith,  works  out  in  tlie  dark,  and  by  cunning,  his  ends  of  avarice 
and  ambition  ;  who,  acting  on  the  artful  dodger  (no)  principle, 
while  kissing  the  Queen,  picks  her  pocket  of  a  crown. 

It  must  be  stated  for  the  purposes  of  history  that  at  the  time 
when  Spain  was,  or  was  said  to  be,  overrun  with  rats  and  rob- 
bers, there  was,  as  Spaniards  have  it,  a  remedy  for  everything 
except  death  ;  and  as  the  evils  were  notorious,  it  was  natural  that 
means  of  prevention  should  likewise  exist.  If  the  state  of  things 
had  been  so  bad  as  exaggerated  report  would  infer,  it  would 
have  been  impossible  that  any  travelling  or  traffic  could  have 
been  managed  in  the  Peninsula.  The  mails  and  diligences, 
being  protected  by  government,  were  seldom  attacked,  and  those 
who  travelled  by  other  methods,  and  had  proper  recommenda- 
tions, seldom  failed  in  being  provided  by  the  authorities  with  a 
sufficient  escort.  A  regular  body  of  men  was  organized  for  that 
purpose  ;  they  were  called  "  Miguelites,"  from,  it  is  said,  one 
Miguel  de  Prats,  an  armed  satellite  of  the  famous  or  infamous 
Caesar  Borgia.  In  Catalonia  they  are  called  "  Mozos  de  la 
Escuadra"  "  Lads  of  the  squadron,  land  marines ;"  they  are 
the  modern  "  Hermandad"  the  brotherhood  which  formed  the 
old  Spanish  rural  armed  police.  Composed  of  picked  and  most 
active  young  men,  they  served  on  foot,  under  the  orders  of  the 
military  powers  ;  they  were  dressed  in  a  sort  of  half  uniform 
and  half  majo  costume.  Their  gaiters  were  black  instead  of 
yellow,  and  their  jackets  of  blue  trimmed  with  red.  They  were 
well  armed  with  a  short  gun  and  a  belt  round  the  waist  in  which 


the  ammunition  was  placed,  a  much  more  convenient  contri- 
vance than  our  cartouche-box  ;  they  had  a  swoi'd,  a  cord  for 
securing  prisoners,  and  a  single  pistol,  which  was  stuck  in  their 
sashes,  at  their  backs.  Tiiis  corps  was  on  a  perfect  par  with  the 
robbers,  from  whom  some  of  them  were  chosen  ;  indeed,  the 
common  condition  of  the  "  indulto"  or  pardon  to  robbers,  is  to 
enlist,  and  extirpate  their  former  associates — set  a  thief  to  catch 
a  thief;  both  the  honest  and  renegade  Miguelites  hunted  "  la 
mala  gente"  as  gamekeepers  do  poachers.  The  robbers  feared 
and  respected  them  ;  an  escort  of  ten  or  twelve  Aliguelitts  might 
brave  any  number  of  banditti,  who  never  or  rarely  attack  where 
resistance  is  to  be  anticipated  ;  and  in  travelling  through  suspected 
spots  these  escorts  showed  singular  skill  in  taking  every  precaution, 
by  throwing  out  skirmisliers  in  front  and  at  the  sides.  They 
covered  in  their  progress  a  large  space  of  ground,  taking  care 
never  to  keep  above  two  together,  nor  more  distant  from  each 
other  than  gun-shot ;  rules  which  all  travellers  will  do  well  to 
remember,  and  to  enforce  on  all  occasions  of  suspicion.  The 
rare  instances  in  which  Englishmen,  es^Jecially  officers  of  the 
garrison  of  Gibraltar,  have  been  robbed,  have  arisen  from  a 
neglect  of  this  precaution  ;  when  the  whole  party  ride  together 
they  may  be  all  caught  at  once,  as  in  a  casting-net. 

It  may  be  remarked  that  Spanish  robbers  are  very  shy  in 
attacking  armed  Elnglish  travellers,  and  particularly  if  tliey 
appear  on  their  guard.  The  robbers  dislike  fighting,  and  the 
more  as  they  do  so  at  a  disadvantage,  from  having  a  halter  round 
their  necks,  and  they  hate  danger,  from  knowing  what  it  is  ;  they 
have  no  chivalrous  courage,  nor  any  more  abstract  notions  of  fair 
play  than  a  Turk  or  a  tiger,  who  are  too  uncivilized  to  throw 
away  a  chance ;  accordingly,  they  seldom  join  issue  where  the 
defendants  seem  pugnacious,  which  is  likely  to  be  the  case  with 
Englishmen.  They  also  peculiarly  dislike  English  guns  and 
gunpowder,  which,  in  fact,  both  as  arms  and  anniiunition,  are 
infinitely  superior  to  those  of  Spain.  Though  three  or  four  En- 
glishmen had  nothing  to  fear,  yet  where  there  were  ladies  it  was 
better  to  be  provided  with  an  escort  of  Miguelites.  These  men 
have  a  keen  and  accurate  eye,  and  were  always  on  the  look-out 
for  prints  of  horses  and  other  signs,  which,  escaping  the  notice 
of  superficial  observers,  indicated  to  their  practised  observations 

202  TRAVELLING  ESCORTS.  [chap.  xvi. 

the  presence  of  danger.  They  were  indefatigable,  keeping  up 
with  a  carriage  day  and  night,  braving  heat  and  cold,  hunger  and 
thirst.  As  they  were  maintained  at  the  expense  of  the  govern- 
ment, tiiey  were  not,  strictly  speaking,  entitled  to  any  remune- 
ration from  those  travellers  whom  they  v.ere  directed  to  escort ; 
it  was,  however,  usual  to  give  to  each  man  a  couple  of  pesetas 
a-day,  and  a  dollar  to  their  leader.  Tiie  trifling  addition  of  a 
few  cigars,  a  "  bota  "  or  two  of  wine,  some  rice  and  dried  cod-fish 
for  their  evening  meal,  was  well  bestowed  ;  exercise  sharpened 
their  appetites ;  and  they  were  always  proud  to  drink  to  their 
master's  long  life  and  purse,  and  protect  both. 

Those,  whether  natives  or  foreigners,  who  could  not  obtain  or 
afford  the  expense  of  an  escort  to  themselves,  availed  themselves 
of  tlie  oi)i)ortuuity  of  joining  company  with  some  party  who  had 
one.  It  is  wonderful  how  soon  the  fact  of  an  escort  being 
granted  was  known,  and  how  tlie  number  of  travellers  increased, 
who  were  anxious  to  take  advantage  of  the  convoy.  As  all  go 
armed,  the  united  allied  forces  became  more  formidable  as  the 
number  increased,  and  the  danger  became  less.  If  no  one  hap- 
pened to  be  travelling  with  an  escort,  tlien  travellers  waited  for 
the  passage  of  troops,  for  the  government's  sending  money, 
tobacco,  or  anything  else  which  required  protection.  If  none 
of  these  opportunities  offered,  all  who  were  about  to  travel  joined 
company.  This  habit  of  forming  caravans  is  very  Oriental,  and 
has  become  quite  national  in  Spain,  insomuch  that  it  is  almost 
impossible  to  travel  alone,  as  others  will  join  ;  weaker  and  smaller 
parties  v/ill  unite  with  all  stronger  and  larger  companies  whom 
they  nieet  going  the  same  road,  whether  the  latter  like  it  or  not. 
The  muleteers  are  most  social  and  gregarious  amongst  each  other, 
and  will  often  endeavour  to  derange  their  employer's  line  of 
route,  in  order  to  fall  in  witli  that  of  their  chance-met  comrades. 
The  caravan,  like  a  snow-ball,  increases  in  bulk  as  it  rolls  on  ; 
it  is  often  pretty  considerable  at  the  very  outset,  for,  even  before 
starting,  the  muleteers  and  proprietors  of  carriages,  being  well 
known  to  each  other,  communicate  mutually  the  number  of 
travellers  which  each  has  got. 

Travelling  in  out-of-the-way  districts  in  a  "  coche  de  collera^" 
and  especially  if  accompanied  with  a  baggage-waggon,  exposes 
the  party  to  be  robbed.     When  the  caravan  arrives  in  the  small 

cuxp.  XVI.]  ESCOPETEROS  203 

villages  it  attracts  immediate  notice,  and  if  it  gets  wind  that  the 
travellers  are  foreigners,  they  are  supposed  to  be  laden  with  gold 
and  booty.  Such  an  arrival  is  a  rare  event ;  the  news  spreads 
like  wildfire,  and  collects  all  the  ^^  mala  gefite,''  the  bad  set  of 
idlers  and  loiterers,  who  act  as  spies,  and  convey  intelligence  to 
their  confederates  ;  again,  the  bulk  of  the  equipage,  the  noise 
and  clatter  of  men  and  mules,  is  seen  and  heard  from  afar,  by 
robbers  if  there  be  any,  who  lurk  in  hiding-places  or  eminences, 
and  are  well  provided  with  telescopes,  besides  with  longer  and 
sharper  noses,  which,  as  Gil  Bias  says,  smell  coin  in  travellers' 
pockets,  while  the  slow  pace  and  impossibility  of  flight  renders 
such  a  party  an  easy  prey  to  well-mounted  horsemen. 

This  condition  of  affairs,  these  dangers  real  or  imaginary,  and 
these  precautions,  existed  principally  in  journeys  by  cross  roads, 
or  through  provinces  rarely  visited,  and  unprovided  with  public 
carriages ;  if,  however,  such  districts  were  reputed  the  worst, 
they  often  had  the  advantage  of  being  freer  from  regular  bands, 
for  where  there  are  few  passengers,  why  should  there  be  robbers, 
who  like  spiders  place  their  nets  w^here  the  supply  of  flies  is 
sure? — and  little  do  the  humbler  masses  of  Spain  care  either  for 
robbers  or  revolutionists ;  they  have  nothing  to  lose,  and  are 
beneath  the  notice  of  pickpockets  or  pseudo-patriots.  Their 
raffs  are  their  safeguard,  a  fine  climate  clothes  them,  a  fertile 
soil  feeds  them ;  they  doze  away  in  the  happy  want  and  poverty, 
ever  the  best  protections  in  Spain,  or  strum  their  guitars  and  sing 
staves  in  praise  of  empty  purses.  The  better  provided  have  to 
look  out  for  themselves ;  indeed,  whenever  the  law  is  insufiicient 
men  take  it  into  their  own  hands,  either  to  protect  themselves  or 
their  property,  or  to  administer  wild  justice,  and  obtain  satisfac- 
tion for  wrongs,  which  in  plain  Spanish  is  called  revenge.  An 
Irish  landlord  arms  his  servants  and  raises  walls  round  his 
"  demesne  " — an  English  squire  employs  watchers  and  keepers 
to  preserve  his  pheasants — so  in  suspected  localities  a  Spanish 
hidalgo  protects  his  person  by  hiring  armed  peasants ;  they  are 
called  "  cscopcteros,"  people  with  guns — a  definition  which  is 
applicable  to  most  Spaniards.  When  out  of  town  this  custom  of 
going  armed,  and  early  acquaintance  with  the  use  of  the  gun,  is 
the  principal  reason  why,  on  the  shortest  notice,  bodies  of  men, 
whom  the  Spaniards  call  soldiers,  are  got  together ;  every  field 

204  PASSES  AND  PROTECTIONS.  L^hap.  xvi 

furnishes  the  raw  material — a  man  with  a  musket.  Baggage, 
commissariat,  pay,  rations,  uniform,  and  discipline,  which  are 
European  rather  than  Oriental,  are  more  likely  to  be  found  in  most 
other  armies  than  in  those  of  Spain.  These  things  account  for  the 
facility  with  which  the  Spanish  nation  flies  so  magnanimously  to 
arms,  and  after  bush-fighting  and  buccaneering  expeditions,  dis~ 
appears  at  once  after  a  reverse  ;  "  every  man  to  his  own  home," 
as  of  old  in  the  East,  and  that,  with  or  without  proclamation. 
These  "  escopeteros"  occasionally  robbers  themselves,  live  either 
by  robbery  or  by  the  prevention  of  it ;  for  there  is  some  honour 
among  thieves ;  "  entre  lobos  no  se  come^''  "  wolves  don't  eat 
each  other  "  unless  very  hard  up  indeed.  These  fellows  naturally 
endeavour  to  alarm  travellers  with  over-exaggerated  accounts  of 
danger,  ogres  and  antres  vast,  in  order  that  their  services  may 
be  engaged  ;  their  inventions  are  often  believed  by  swallowers  of 
camels,  who  note  down  as  facts,  these  tricks  upon  travellers  got 
up  for  the  occasion,  by  people  who  are  making  long  noses  at  them, 
behind  their  backs  ;  but  these  longer  lies  are  among  the  accidents 
of  long  journeys,  '•'■en  luengas  vias,  luengas  mentiras." 

As  we  are  now  writing  history,  it  may  be  added  that  great 
men  like  Jose  INIaria  often  granted  passports.  This  true  trooper 
of  the  Deloraine  breed  was  untrammelled  with  the  fetters  of 
spelling.  Although  he  could  barely  write  his  name,  he  could 
rubricate  *  as  well  as  any  other  Spaniard  in  command,  or  Ferdi- 
nand VII.  himself.  *'  His  mark  "  was  a  protection  to  all  who 
would  pay  him  black  mail.  It  was  authenticated  with  such  a 
portentous  griffonage  as  would  have  done  credit  to  Ali  Pacha. 
An  intimate  friend  of  ours,  a  merry  gastronomic  dignitary  of 
Seville,  who  was  going  to  the  baths  of  Caratraca,  to  recover 
from  over-indulgence  in  rich  ollas  and  valdepenas,  and  had  no 
wish,  like  the  gouty  abbot  of  Boccaccio,  to  be  put  on  robber 
regimen,  procured  a  pass  from  Jose  Maria,  and  took  one  of  his 

*  The  kings  of  Spain  seldom  use  any  other  royal  signature,  except  the 
ancient  Gothic  riibrica,  or  mark.  This  monogram  is  something  like  a  Ivunic 
knot.  Spaniards  exercise  much  ingenuity  in  these  intricate  flourishes,  which 
they  tack  on  to  tlieir  names,  as  a  collateral  security  of  authenticity.  It  is 
said  that  a  rubrica  without  a  name  is  of  more  value  than  a  name  without  a 
rubrica.  Sancho  Panza  tells  Don  Quixote  that  his  rubrica  alone  is  worth, 
not  one,  but  three  hundred  jackasses.  Those  who  cannot  write  rubricate; 
"  No  saber Jir mar," — not  to  know  how  to  sign  ones  name, — is  jokingly  held 
in  Spain  to  be  one  of  the  attributes  of  grandeeship. 


gang  as  a  travelling  escort,  who  sat  on  the  coach-box,  and  whom 
he  described  to  us  as  his  "  santito"  his  little  guardian  angel. 

While  on  the  subject  of  this  spiritual  and  supernatural  pro- 
tection, it  may  be  added  that  firm  faith  was  placed  in  the  wear- 
ing a  relic,  a  medal  of  the  Virgin,  her  rosary  or  scapulary.  Thus 
the  Duchess  of  Abrantes  this  very  autumn  hung  the  Virgen  del 
Pilar  round  the  neck  of  her  favourite  bull-fighter,  who  escaped 
in  consequence.  Few  Spanish  soldiers  go  into  battle  without 
such  a  preservative  in  their  petos,  or  stuffed  waddings,  which  is 
supposed  to  turn  bullets,  and  to  divert  fire,  like  a  lightning  con- 
ductor, which  probably  it  does,  as  so  few  are  ever  killed.  In 
the  more  romantic  days  of  Spain  no  duel  or  tournament  could 
be  fought  without  a  declaration  from  the  combatants,  that  they 
had  no  relic,  no  engauo  or  cheat,  about  their  persons.  Our  friend 
Jose  Maria  attributed  his  constant  escapes  to  an  image  of  the 
Virgin  of  Grief  of  Cordova,  which  never  quitted  his  shaggy  breast. 
Indeed,  the  native  districts  of  the  lower  classes  in  Spain  may  be 
generally  known  by  their  religious  ornaments.  These  talismanic 
amulets  are  selected  from  the  saint  or  relic  most  honoured, 
and  esteemed  most  efficacious,  in  their  immediate  vicinity. 
Thus  the  "  Santo  Rostro,"  or  Holy  Countenance  of  Jaen,  is  worn 
all  over  the  kingdom  of  Granada,  as  the  Cross  of  Caravaca  is 
over  Murcia ;  the  rosary  of  the  Virgin  is  common  to  all  Spain. 
The  following  miraculous  proof  of  its  saving  virtues  was  fre- 
quently painted  in  the  convents : — A  robber  was  shot  by  a 
traveller  and  buried  ;  his  comrades,  some  time  afterwards  passing 
by,  heard  his  voice, — "  this  fellow  in  the  cellarage  ;" — they  opened 
the  grave  and  found  him  alive  and  unhurt,  for  when  he  was 
killed,  he  had  happened  to  have  a  rosary  round  his  neck,  and 
Saint  Dominick  (its  inventor)  was  enabled  to  intercede  with  the 
Virgin  in  his  behalf.  This  reliance  on  the  Virgin  is  by  no 
means  confined  to  Spain,  since  the  Italian  banditti  always  wear  a 
small  silver  heart  of  the  Madonna,  and  this  mixture  of  ferocity 
and  superstition  is  one  of  the  most  terrific  features  of  their 
character.  Saint  Nicholas,  however,  the  English  "  Old  Nick," 
is  in  all  countries  the  patron  of  schoolboys,  thieves,  or,  as 
Shakspere  calls  them,  "  Saint  Nicholas's  clerks."  "  Keep  thy  neck 
for  the  hangman,  for  I  know  thou  worshippest  St.  Nicholas  as  a 
man  of  falsehood  may ;"  and  like  him,  Santu  Diavolu,  Santu 

206  TALISMANIC  DEFENCES.  [cuap.  xvi. 

Diavoluni,  Holy  Devil,  is  the  appropriate  saint  of  the  Sicilian 

San  Diraas,  the  "  good  thief,"  is  a  great  saint  in  Andalucia, 
where  his  disciples  are  said  to  be  numerous.  A  celebrated 
carving  by  Montanes,  in  Seville,  is  called  '■El  Cristo,  del  buen 
ladron,' — "the  Christ,  o/"  the  good  tliief;"  thus  making  the 
Saviour  a  subordinate  person.  Spanish  robbers  have  always  been 
remarkably  good  Roman  Catholics.  In  the  Rinconete  y  Corta- 
dillo,  the  Lurker  and  Cutpurse  of  Cei-vantes,  whose  Monipodio 
must  have  furnished  Fagin  to  Boz,  a  box  is  placed  before  the 
Virgin,  to  which  each  robber  contributes,  and  one  remarks  that 
he  "  robs  for  the  service  of  God,  and  for  all  honest  fellows." 
Their  mountain  confessors  of  the  Friar  Tuck  order,  animated 
by  a  pious  love  for  dollars  when  expended  in  expiatory  masses, 
consider  the  payment  to  them  of  good  doubloons  such  a  laudable 
restitution,  sucli  a  sincere  repentance,  as  to  entitle  the  contrite 
culprit  to  ample  absolution,  plenary  indulgence,  and  full  benefit 
of  clergy.  Notwithstanding  this,  these  ungrateful  "  good  thieves  " 
have  been  known  to  rob  their  spiritual  pastors  and  masters,  when 
they  catch  them  on  the  high  road. 

To  return  to  the  saving  merit  of  these  talismans.  We  our- 
selves suspended  to  our  sheepskin  jacket  one  of  the  silver  medals 
of  Santiago,  which  are  sold  to  pilgrims  at  Compostella,  and  ar- 
rived back  again  to  Seville  from  the  long  excursion,  safe  and 
sound  and  unpillaged  except  by  venteros  and  our  faithful  squire — 
an  auspicious  event,  which  was  entirely  attributed  by  the  afore- 
said dignitary  to  the  intervention  vouchsafed  by  the  patron  of  the 
Spains  to  all  who  wore  his  order,  which  thus  protects  the  bearer 
as  a  badge  does  a  Thames  waterman  from  a  press-gang. 

An  account  of  the  judicial  death  of  one  of  the  gang  of  Jose 
Maria,  winch  we  witnessed,  will  be  an  appropriate  conclusion  to 
these  remarks,  and  an  act  of  justice  towards  our  fair  readers  for 
this  detail  of  breaches  of  the  peace,  and  the  bad  company  into 
which  they  have  been  introduced.  Jose  de  Roxas,  commonly 
called  (for  they  generally  have  some  nickname)  El  Veneno, 
"  Poison,"  from  his  viper-like  qualities,  was  surprised  by  some 
troops  :  he  made  a  desperate  resistance,  and  when  brought  to  the 
ground  by  a  ball  in  his  leg,  killed  the  soldier  who  rushed  for- 
ward to  secure  him.     He  proposed  when  in  prison  to  deliver  up 

CHAP,  xvi.j  EXECUTION  OF  A  ROBBER.  207 

his  comrades  if  his  own  life  were  guaranteed  to  him.  The  offer 
was  accepted,  and  he  was  sent  out  with  a  sufficient  force ;  and 
such  was  tlie  terror  of  his  name,  that  they  surrendered  them- 
selves, not  however  to  him,  and  were  imrdoned.  Veneno  was 
then  trietl  for  his  previous  offences,  found  guilty,  and  condemned  : 
he  pleaded  that  he  had  indirectly  accomplished  the  object  for 
which  his  life  was  promised  him,  but  in  vain  ;  for  such  trials  in 
Spain  are  a  mere  form,  to  give  an  air  of  legality  to  a  predeter- 
mined sentence  : — the  authorities  adhered  to  the  killing  letter  of 
their  agreement,  and 

"  Kept  the  word  of  promise  to  the  ear, 
But  broke  it  to  the  hope." 

As  Veneno  Avas  without  friends  or  money,  wherewith  Gines 
Passamonte  anointed  the  palm  of  justice  and  got  fi-ee,  the  sen- 
tence was  of  course  ordered  to  be  carried  into  effect.  The  courts 
of  law  and  the  prisons  of  Seville  are  situated  near  the  Pla^a  San 
Francisco,  which  has  always  been  the  site  of  public  executions. 
On  the  day  previous  nothing  indicates  the  scene  which  will  take 
place  on  the  following  morning;  everytliing  connected  with  this 
ceremony  of  death  is  viewed  with  horror  by  Spaniards,  not  from 
that  abstract  abhorrence  of  shedding  blood  which  among  other 
nations  induces  the  lower  orders  to  detest  the  completer  of 
judicial  sentences,  as  the  smaller  feathered  tribes  do  the  larger 
birds  of  prey,  but  from  ancient  Oriental  prejudices  of  pollution, 
and  because  all  actually  employed  in  the  operation  are  accounted 
infamous,  and  lose  their  caste,  and  purity  of  blood.  Even  the 
gloomy  scaffolding  is  erected  in  the  night  by  unseen,  unknown 
hands,  and  rises  from  the  earth  like  a  fungus  work  of  darkness, 
to  make  the  day  hideous  and  shock  the  awakening  eye  of  Seville. 
When  the  criminal  is  of  noble  blood  the  platform,  which  in  ordi- 
nary cases  is  composed  of  mere  carpenter's  work,  is  covered  with 
black  baize.  The  operation  of  hanging,  among  so  unmechanical 
a  people,  with  no  improved  patent  invisible  drop,  used  to  be  con- 
ducted in  a  cruel  and  clumsy  manner.  The  wretched  culprits 
were  dragged  up  the  steps  of  the  ladder  by  the  executioner,  who 
then  mounted  on  their  shoulders  and  threw  himself  off  with  his 
victims,  and,  wliile  both  swung  backwards  and  forwards  in  the 
air,  was  busied,  with  spider-like  fingers,  in  fumbling  about  the 

208  EXECUTION  OF  A  ROBBER.  [chap,  xvi, 

neck  of  the  sufferers,  until  being  satisfied  that  life  was  extinct 
lie  let  himself  down  to  the  ground  by  the  bodies.  Execution  by 
hanging  was,  however,  graciously  abolished  by  Ferdinand  VII., 
the  beloved ;  this  father  of  his  people  determined  that  the 
future  death  for  civil  offences  should  be  strangulation, — a  mode  oi 
removing  to  a  better  world  those  of  his  children  who  deserved  it, 
which  is  certainly  more  in  accordance  with  the  Oriental  bow- 

Veneno  was  placed,  as  is  usual,  the  day  before  his  execution, 
"  en  capilla"  in  a  chapel  or  cell  set  apart  for  the  condemned, 
where  the  last  comforts  of  religion  are  administered.  This  was 
a  small  room  in  the  prison,  and  tlie  most  melancholy  in  that 
dwelling  of  woe,  for  such  indeed,  as  Cervantes  from  sad  expe- 
rience knew,  and  described  a  Spanish  prison  to  be,  it  still  is.  An 
iron  grating  formed  the  partition  of  the  corridor,  which  led  to  the 
chamber.  This  passage  was  crowded  with  members  of  a  charitable 
brotherhood,  who  were  collecting  alms  from  the  visitors,  to  be 
expended  in  masses  for  the  eternal  repose  of  the  soul  of  the 
criminal.  There  were  groups  of  officers,  and  of  portly  Franciscan 
friars  smoking  their  cigars  and  looking  carefully  from  time  to 
time  into  the  amount  of  the  contributions,  which  were  to  benefit 
their  bodies,  quite  as  much  as  the  soul  of  the  condemned.  The 
levity  of  those  assembled  without  formed,  meantime,  a  heartless 
contrast  with  the  gloom  and  horror  of  the  melancholy  interior. 
A  small  door  opened  into  the  cell,  over  which  might  well  be 
inscribed  the  awful  words  of  Dante — 

"  Lasciate  ogni  speranza,  voi  ch'  entrate !" 

At  the  head  of  this  room  was  placed  a  table,  with  a  crucifix, 
an  image  of  the  Virgin,  and  two  wax  tapers,  near  which  stood  a 
silent  sentinel  with  a  drawn  sword  ;  another  soldier  was  stationed 
at  the  door,  with  a  fixed  bayonet.  In  a  corner  of  this  darkened 
apartment  was  the  pallet  of  Veneno  ;  he  was  lying  curled  up 
like  a  snake,  with  a  striped  coverlet  (the  Spanish  mantci)  drawn 
closely  over  his  mouth,  leaving  visible  only  a  head  of  matted 
locks,  a  glistening  dark  eye,  rolling  restlessly  out  of  the  white 
socket.  On  being  approached  he  sprung  up  and  seated  himself 
on  a  stool  :  he  was  almost  naked  ;  a  chaplet  of  beads  imng  across 
his  exposed  breast,  and  contrasted  with  the  iron  chains  around  his 


limbs: — Superstition  had  riveted  her  fetters  at  his  birth,  and 
the  Law  her  manacles  at  his  death.  The  expression  of  his  face, 
though  low  and  vulgar,  was  one  which  once  seen  is  not  easily 
forgotten, — a  slouching  look  of  more  than  ordinary  guilt :  his 
sallow  complexion  appeared  more  cadaverous  in  the  uncertain 
light,  and  was  heightened  by  a  black,  unshorn  beard,  growing 
vigorously  on  a  half-dead  countenance.  He  appeared  to  be 
reconciled  to  his  fate,  and  repeated  a  few  sentences,  the  teach- 
ing of  the  monks,  as  by  rote :  his  situation  was  probably  more 
painful  to  the  spectator  than  to  himself — an  indifference  to  death, 
arising  rather  from  an  ignorance  of  its  dreadful  import,  than 
from  high  moral  courage :  he  was  the  Bernardine  of  Sliakspere, 
*'  a  man  that  apprehends  death  no  more  dreadfully  than  a  drunken 
sleep,  careless,  reckless,  and  fearless  of  what  's  past,  present,  and 
to  come,  insensible  of  mortality,  and  desperately  mortal." 

Next  morning  the  triple  tiers  of  the  old  balconies,  roofs,  and 
whole  area  of  the  Moorish  and  most  picturesque  square  were 
crowded  by  the  lower  orders ;  the  men  wrapped  up  in  their 
cloaks— (it  was  a  December  morning) — the  women  in  their  man- 
tillas, many  with  young  children  in  their  arms,  brought  in  the 
beffinningr  of  life  to  witness  its  conclusion.  The  better  classes 
not  only  absent  themselves  from  these  executions,  but  avoid  any 
allusion  to  the  subject  as  derogatory  to  European  civilization  ; 
the  humbler  ranks,  who  hold  the  conventions  of  society  very 
cheap,  give  loose  to  their  morbid  curiosity  to  behold  scenes  of 
terror,  which  operates  powerfully  on  the  women,  who  seem  im- 
pelled irresistibly  to  witness  sights  the  most  repugnant  to  their 
nature,  and  to  behold  sufferings  which  they  would  most  dread 
to  undergo  ;  they,  like  children,  are  the  great  lovers  of  the  hor- 
rible, Avhether  in  a  tale  or  in  dreadful  reality ;  to  the  men  it  was 
as  a  tragedy,  where  the  last  scene  is  death — death  which  rivets 
the  attention  of  all,  who  sooner  or  later  must  enact  the  same  sad 
part.*  They  desire  to  see  how  the  criminal  will  conduct  him- 
self; they  sympathise  with  him  if  he  displays  coolness  and 
courage,  and  despise  him  on  the  least  symptom  of  unmanliness. 
An  open  square  was  then  formed  about  the  scaffold  by  lines  of 
soldiers  drawn  up,  into  which  the  officers  and  clergy  were  ad- 

*  "  Chacun  fuit  h,  le  voir  naitre,  chacun  court  a  le  voir  mourir!"' — il/on- 

210  EXECUTION  OF  A  ROBEEK.  [chap.  xvr. 

mitted.  As  the  fatal  hour  drew  nigh,  the  increasing  impatience 
of  the  multitude  began  to  vent  itself  in  complaints  of  how  slowly 
tlie  time  passed — tliat  time  of  no  value  to  them,  but  of  such 
precious  import  to  him,  whose  very  moments  were  numbered. 

When  at  length  the  cathedral  clock  tolled  out  the  fatal  hour, 
a  universal  stir  of  tiptoe  expectation  took  place,  a  pushing  for- 
ward to  get  the  best  situations.  Still  ten  minutes  had  to  elapse, 
for  the  clock  of  the  tribunal  is  purposely  set  so  much  later  than 
that  of  the  cathedral,  in  order  to  aflbrd  the  utmost  possible 
chance  of  a  reprieve.  When  that  clock  too  had  rung  out  its 
knell,  all  eyes  were  turned  to  the  prison-door,  from  whence  the 
miserable  man  came  forth,  attended  by  some  Franciscans.  He 
had  chosen  that  order  to  assist  at  his  dying  moments,  a  privilege 
always  left  to  the  criminal.  He  was  clad  in  a  coarse  yellow 
baize  gown,  the  colour  which  denotes  the  crime  of  murder,  and  is 
appropriated  always  to  Judas  Iscariot  in  Spanish  paintings.  He 
walked  slowly  on  his  last  journey,  half  supported  by  those  around 
him,  and  stopping  often,  ostensibly  to  kiss  the  crucifix  held 
before  him  by  a  friar,  but  rather  to  prolong  existence — sv/eet 
life  ! — even  yet  a  moment.  When  he  arrived  reluctantly  at  the 
scaffold,  he  knelt  down  on  the  steps,  the  threshold  of  death  ; — 
the  reverend  attendants  covered  him  over  witli  tlieir  blue  robes 
— his  dying  confession  was  listened  to  unseen.  He  then  mounted 
the  platform  attended  by  a  single  friar ;  addressed  the  crowd  in 
broken  sentences,  w  ith  a  gasping  breath — told  them  that  he  died 
repentant,  that  he  was  justly  punished,  and  tliat  he  forgave  his 
executioner.  "  Mi  delito  me  mata,  y  no  ese  hombre,^^ — my 
offence  puts  me  to  death,  and  not  this felloiv ;  as  "Ese  hombre" 
is  a  contemptuous  expression,  and  implies  insult,  the  ruling 
feeling  of  the  Spaniard  was  displayed  in  death  against  the  de- 
graded functionary.  The  criminal  then  exclaimed,  "  Viva  la  fe! 
viva  la  relic/ion  !  viva  el  rey  !  viva  el  nomhre  de  Jesus  .'"  All  of 
which  met  no  echo  from  those  who  heard  him.  His  dying  cry 
was  "  Viva  la  Virgen  SantisimaV^  at  these  words  the  devotion 
to  the  goddess  of  Spain  burst  forth  in  one  general  acclamation, 
"  Viva  la  Santisima  /"  So  strong  is  tlieir  feelinor  towards  the 
Virgin,  and  so  lukewarm  their  comparative  indifference  towards 
their  king,  their  faith,  and  their  Saviour!  Meanwhile  the  exe- 
cutioner, a  young  man  dressed  in   black,  was  busied  in  tlie  pre- 


parations  for  death.  The  fatal  instrument  is  simple :  the  culprit 
is  placed  on  a  rude  seat ;  his  back  leans  against  a  strong  upright 
post,  to  which  an  iron  collar  is  attached,  enclosing  liis  neck,  and 
so  contrived  as  to  be  drawn  home  to  the  post  by  turning  a  pow- 
erful scre\v.  The  executioner  bound  so  tightly  the  naked  legs 
and  arms  of  Veneno,  that  they  swelled  and  became  black — a 
precaution  not  unwise,  as  the  father  of  this  functionary  liad  been 
killed  in  the  act  of  executing  a  struggling  criminal.  The  priest 
who  attended  Veneno  was  a  bloated,  corpulent  man,  more  occu- 
pied in  shading  the  sun  from  his  own  face,  than  in  his  ghostly 
office;  the  robber  sat  with  a  writhing  look  of  agony,  grinding 
his  clenched  teeth.  When  all  was  ready,  the  executioner  took 
the  lever  of  the  screw  in  both  hands,  gathered  himself  up  for  a 
strong  muscular  effort,  and,  at  the  moment  of  a  preconcerted 
signal,  drew  the  iron  collar  tight,  while  an  attendant  flung  a 
black  handkerchief  over  the  face— a  convulsive  pressure  of  the 
hands  and  a  heaving  of  the  chest  were  the  only  visible  signs  of 
the  passing  of  the  robber's  spirit.  After  a  pause  of  a  few  mo- 
ments, the  executioner  cautiously  peeped  under  the  handkerchief, 
and  after  having  given  another  turn  to  the  screw,  lifted  it  off, 
folded  it  up,  carefully  put  it  into  his  pocket,  and  then  proceeded 

to  light  a  cigar 

"  with  that  air  of  satisfaction 

Which  good  men  wear  who  've  done  a  virtuous  action." 


The  face  of  the  dead  man  was  slightly  convulsed,  the  mouth 
open,  the  eye-balls  turned  into  their  sockets  from  the  wrench. 
A  black  bier,  Mith  two  lanterns  fixed  on  staves,  and  a  crucifix, 
was  now  set  down  before  the  scaffold — also  a  small  table  and  a 
dish,  into  which  alms  were  again  collected,  to  be  paid  to  the 
priests  who  sang  masses  for  his  soul.  The  mob  having  discussed 
his  crimes,  abused  the  authorities  and  judges,  and  criticised  the 
manner  of  the  new  executioner  (it  was  liis  maiden  effort),  began 
slowly  to  disperse,  to  the  great  content  of  the  neighbouring  sil- 
versmiths, who  ventured  to  open  their  closed  shutters,  having 
hitherto  placed  more  confidence  in  bolts  and  bars,  than  in  the 
moral  example  presented  to  the  spectators.  The  body  remained 
on  the  scaffold  till  the  afternoon  ;  it  was  then  thrown  into  a 
scavenger's  cart,  and  led  by  the  "pre^/OHe/o,"  the  comu;on crier, 

212  EXECUTION  OF  A  ROBBER.  [chap.  xvi. 

beyond  the  jurisdiction  of  the  city,  to  a  square  platform  called 
"  La  mesa  del  Rey"  the  king's  table,  where  the  bodies  of  the 
executed  are  quartered  and  cut  up — "  a  pretty  dish  to  set  before 
a  king."  Here  the  carcase  was  hewed  and  hacked  into  pieces  by 
the  bungling  executioner  and  his  attendants,  with  that  inimitable 
defiance  of  anatomy  for  which  they  and  Spanish  surgeons  are 
equally  renowned — 

"  Le  gambe  di  lui  gettaron  in  una  fossa ; 
II  Diavol  ebbe  I'alma,  i  lupi  I'ossa."' 

"  The  legs  of  the  robber  were  thrown  in  a  hole, 
The  wolves  got  his  bones,  the  devil  his  soul." 

CHAP,  xvii.l  THE  SPANISH  DOCTOR.  213 


The  Spanish  Doctor :  his  Social  Position — Medical  Abuses — Hospitals- 
Medical  Education — Lunatic  Asylums — Foundling  Hospital  of  Seville — 
Medical  Pretensions — Dissection — Family  Physician — Consultations — 
Medical  Costume — Prescriptions — Druggists — Snake  Broth — Salve  for 

The  transition  from  the  Spanish  centero  to  the  ladron  was  easy, 
nor  is  that  from  the  robbers  to  the  doctors  of  Spain  difficult ; 
the  former  at  least  offer  a  polite  alternative,  they  demand  "  your 
money  or  your  life,"  while  the  latter  in  most  cases  take  both ; 
yet  these  able  practitioners,  from  being  less  picturesque  in  cos- 
tume, and  more  undi'amatic  in  operations,  do  not  enjoy  so  brilliant 
a  European  reputation  as  the  bandits.  Again,  while  our  critical 
monitors  cry  thieves  on  every  road  of  the  Peninsula,  no  friendly 
warning  is  given  against  the  Sangrado,  whose  aspect  is  more 
deadly  than  the  couji  de  soleil  of  a  Castilian  sun  :  woe  waits  the 
wayfarer  who  falls  into  his  hands ;  the  patient  cannot  be  too 
quick  in  ordering  the  measure  to  be  taken  of  iiis  coffin,  or,  as 
Spaniards  say,  of  his  tombstone,  which  last  article  is  shadowed  out 
by  the  first  feeling  of  the  invalid's  pulse — tomar  el  puJso,  es  pro- 
gnosticar  al  enfermo  la  luza.  It  was  probably  from  a  knowledge 
of  this  contingent  remainder,  that  Monsieur  Orfila  went,  or  was 
sent,  from  Paris  to  Madrid,  about  the  time  of  the  Montpensier 
marriage  with  the  Infanta,  in  the  hopes  of  rescuing  her  elder 
and  reigning  sister,  the  "  innocent "  Isabel,  from  the  fatal 
native  lancets — a  well-meant  interference  of  the  foreigner,  by  the 
way,  which  the  Spanish  faculty  resented  and  rejected  to  a  man  ., 
nor  were  the  guarded  suggestions  of  this  eminent  toxicologiste,  or 
investigator  of  poisons,  with  regard  to  the  administration  of 
medicines  and  dispensaries,  received  so  thankfully  as  tliey  de- 

However  magnificently  endowed  in   former  times    were   the 
hospitals  and  ahnshouses  of  Spain,  the  provision   now  made  for 

214  THE  SPANISH  DOCTOR:  [chap.  xvir. 

poor  and  ailing-  humanity  is  very  inadequate.  The  revenues 
were  first  embezzled  by  the  managers,  and  since  have  almost 
been  swept  away.  Trustees  for  pious  and  charitable  uses  are 
defenceless  against  armetl  avarice  and  appropriation  in  office ; 
and  being  corporate  bodies,  they  want  the  sacredne&s  of  private 
interests,  which  every  one  is  anxious  to  defend.  Plence  the 
greedy  minion  Godoy  began  the  spoliation,  by  seizing  the  funds, 
and  giving  in  lieu  government  securities,  which  of  course 
turned  out  to  be  worthless.  Then  ensued  the  French  invasion, 
and  the  confiscation  of  military  despots.  Civil  war  has  done  the 
rest ;  and  now  that  the  convents  are  suppr(!ssed,  the  deficiencv  is 
more  evident,  for  in  tlie  remoter  country  districts  tlie  monks  be- 
stowed relief  to  the  poor,  and  provided  medicines  for  the  sick. 
With  few  exceptions,  the  hospitals,  the  Casus  de  3Iisericordia, 
or  houses  for  the  destitute,  are  far  from  being  well  conducted  in 
Spain,  while  those  destined  for  lunatics,  and  for  exposed  children, 
notwithstanding  recent  improvements,  do  little  credit  to  science 
and  humanity. 

The  base,  brutal,  and  bloody  Sangrados  of  Spain  have  long 
been  the  butts  of  foreign  and  domestic  novelists,  who  spoke 
many  a  true  word  in  tlieir  jests.  The  common  expression  of  the 
people  in  regard  to  the  busy  mortality  of  their  patients,  is, 
that  tiiey  die  like  bugs,  mueren  coma  chinches.  This  reckless- 
ness of  life,  this  inattention  to  human  suffering-,  and  backward- 
ness in  curative  science,  is  very  Oriental ;  for,  however  science 
may  have  set  westward  from  tlie  East,  the  arts  of  medicine  and 
surgery  have  not.  There,  as  in  Spain,  they  have  long  been 
subordinate,  and  the  professors  held  to  be  of  a  low  caste~a  fatal 
bar  in  the  Peninsula,  where  tlie  point  of  personal  honour  is  so 
nice,  and  men  will  die  rather  than  submit  to  conventional  degra- 
dations. The  surgeon  of  the  Spanish  Moors  was  frequently 
a  despised  and  detested  Jew,  which  would  create  a  traditionary 
loathing  of  the  calling.  The  physician  was  of  somewhat  a 
hig-lier  caste ;  but  he,  like  the  botanist  and  chemist,  was  rather 
to  be  met  with  among  the  Infidels  tlian  the  Christians.  Thus 
Sancho  the  Fat  was  obliged  to  go  in  person  to  Cordova  in  search 
of  good  advice.  And  still  in  Spain,  as  in  the  East,  all  whose 
profession  is  to  put  living  creatures  to  death,  are  socially  almost 
excommunicated  ;  the  butcher,  bullfigliter,  and  public  executioner 


for  example.  Here  the  soldier  who  sabres,  takes  tlie  highest  rank, 
and  he  who  cures,  the  lowest ;  here  the  M.D.'s,  w  horn  the 
infallible  Pope  consults  and  the  autocrat  king  obeys,  are  ad- 
mitted only  into  the  sick  rooms  of  good  company,  which,  when 
in  rude  health,  shuts  on  them  the  door  of  their  saloons ;  but  the 
excluded  take  their  revenge  on  those  who  morally  cut  them,  and 
all  Spaniards  are  very  dangerous  with  the  knife,  and  more  parti- 
cularly if  surgeons.  Madrid  is  indeed  thecourt  of  death,  and  the 
necrology  of  the  Escorial  furnishes  the  surest  evidence  of  this  fact 
in  tlie  premature  decease  of  royalty,  which  may  be  expected  to  have 
the  best  advice  and  aid,  both  medical  and  theologico-tlierapeutical, 
that  the  capital  can  afford  ;  but  brief  is  the  royal  span,  especially 
in  the  case  of  females  and  infantes,  and  the  result  is  undeniable 
in  these  statistics  of  death  ;  the  cause  lies  between  the  climate 
and  the  doctor,  who,  as  they  aid  the  other,  may  fairly  be  left  to 
settle  the  question  of  relative  excellence  between  each  other. 

The  Spanish  medical  man  is  shunned,  not  only  from  ancient 
prejudices,  and  because  he  is  dangerous,  like  a  rattle-snake,  but 
from  jealousies  that  churchmen  entertain  against  a  rival  profession, 
which,  if  well  received,  might  come  in  for  some  share  of  the 
legacies  and  power-conferring  secrets,  Avhich  are  obtained  easily 
at  deathbeds,  when  mind  and  body  are  deprived  of  strength. 
Again,  a  Spanish  surgeon  and  a  Spanish  confessor  take  diiferent 
views  of  a  patient ;  one  only  wishes,  or  ought  to  wish,  to  preserve 
him  in  this  world,  the  other  in  the  next, — neither  probably  in 
their  hearts  having  much  opinion  of  the  remedies  adopted  by 
each  other  :  the  spiritual  practice  changes  'not,  for  novelty  iteelf, 
a  heresy  in  religion,  is  not  favourably  beheld  in  anything  else. 
Thus  the  universities,  governed  by  ecclesiastics,  persuaded  the 
poor  bigot  Philip  III.  to  pass  a  law  prohibiting  the  study  of  any 
new  system  of  medicine,  and  requiring  Galen,  Hippocrates,  and 
Avicenna.  Dons  and  men  for  whom  the  sun  still  continued  to 
stand  still,  scouted  the  exact  sciences  and  experimental  philo- 
sophy as  dangerous  innovations,  which,  they  said,  made  every 
medical  man  a  Tiberius,  who,  because  he  was  fond  of  mathe- 
matics where  strict  demonstration  is  necessary,  was  rather  negli- 
gent in  his  religious  respect  for  the  gods  and  goddesses  of  the 
Pantheon  ;  and  so,  in  1830,  they  scared  the  timid  Perdinand 
VII.   (whose  resemblance  to  Tiberius  had  nothing  to  do  with 


216  THE  SPANISH  DOCTOR.  [chap.  xvii. 

Euclid)  by  telling  him  that  the  schools  of  medicine  created 
materialists,  heretics,  citizen-kings,  chartists,  barricadoers,  and  re- 
volutionists. Thereupon  the  beloved  monarch  shut  up  the  lecture 
rooms  forthwith,  opening,  it  is  true,  by  way  of  compensation,  a 
tauromachian  university ; — men  indeed  might  be  mangled,  but 
bulls  were  to  be  mercifully  put  out  of  their  misery,  secundum 
artem,  and  with  the  honours  of  science. 

This  low  social  position  is  very  classical :  the  physicians  of 
Rome,  chiefly  liberti,  freed  slaves,  were  only  made  citizens  by 
Csesar,  who  wished  to  conciliale  these  ministers  of  the  fatal 
sisters  when  the  capital  was  wanting  in  population  after  extreme 
emigrations — an  act  of  favour  which  may  cut  two  ways ;  thus 
Adria!)  VI.  (tutor  to  the  Spanish  Charles  V.)  approved  of  there 
being  500  medical  practitioners  in  the  Eternal  City,  because  other- 
wise "  the  multitude  of  living  beings  would  eat  each  other  up." 
However,  when  his  turn  came  to  be  diminished,  the  grateful 
Ijeople  serenaded  his  surgeon,  as  the  "  deliverer  of  the  country." 
In  our  days,  there  M'as  only  one  medical  man  admitted  by  the 
Se^■ille  sangre  su,  tlie  best  or  noblest  set  (whose  blood  is  held  to 
be  blue,  of  which  more  anon)  when  in  rude  and  antiphlebotomical 
health  ;  and  eveiy  stranger  was  informed  apologetically  by  the 
exclusive  Amphitryons  that  the  M.D.  was  de  casa  conocida,  or  born 
of  a  good  family  ;  thus  his  social  introduction  Was  owing  to  per- 
sonal, not  professional  qualifications.  And  while  adventurers  of 
every  kind  are  betitled,  the  most  prodigal  dispenser  of  Spanish 
honours  never  dreams  of  making  his  doctor  even  a  titidado,  a 
rank  somewhat  higher  than  a  pair  de  France,  and  lower  than  a 
medical  baronetage  in  England.  This  aristocratical  ban  has  con- 
fined doctors  much  to  each  other's  society,  which,  as  they  never 
take  each  other's  physic,  is  neither  unpleasant  nor  dangerous. 
At  Seville  the  medical  tertulia,  club  or  meeting,  was  appro- 
priately held  at  the  apothecary's  shop  of  Campelos,  and  a  sable 
juyita  or  consultation  it  was,  of  birds  of  bad  omen,  who  croaked 
over  the  general  health  with  which  the  city  was  afflicted,  pray- 
ing, like  Sangrado  in  'Gil  Bias,'  that  by  the  blessing  of  Provi- 
dence much  sickness  might  speeflily  ensue.  The  crowded  or  de- 
serted state  of  this  rookery  was  the  surest  evidence  of  the  hygeian 
rondition  of  tlie  fair  capital  of  Baetica,  and  one  w  hich,  when  we 
lived  there,  we  have  often  anxiously- inspected ;  for,  whatever  be 


the  pleasantries  of  those  in  insolent  health,  when  sickness  brings 
in  the  doctor,  all  joking  is  at  an  end  ;  then  he  is  made  much  of 
even  in  Spain,  from  a  choice  of  evils,  and  for  fear  of  the  con- 
fessor and  undertaker. 

The  poor  in  no  countries  have  much  predilection  for  the 
hospital  ;  and  in  Spain,  in  addition  to  pride,  which  everywhere 
keeps  many  silly  sick  out  of  admirably-conducted  asylums,  here 
a  well-grounded  fear  deters  the  patient,  who  prefers  to  die  a 
natural  death.  Again,  from  their  being  poor,  the  necessity  of 
their  living  at  all,  is  less  evident  to  the  managers  than  to  the 
sufferers  ;  as,  say  the  Malthusians,  there  is  no  place  vacant  at 
Nature's  table  d'hote  to  those  who  cannot  pay,  so  bed  and  board 
are  not  pressed  on  Spanish  applicants,  by  the  hospital  committee ; 
an  admitted  patient's  death  saves  trouble  and  expense,  neither  of 
which  are  popular  in  a  land  where  cash  is  scarce,  and  a  love  for 
hard  work  not  prevalent,  where  a  sound  man  is  worth  little,  and 
a  sick  one  still  less  ;  nor  is  every  doctor  always  popular  for 
working  cures,  as  could  be  exemplified  in  sundry  cases  of. Spanish 
wives  and  heirs  in  general  ;  therefore  in  the  hospitals  of  the 
Peninsula,  if  only  half  die,  it  is  thought  great  luck :  the  dead, 
moreover,  tell  no  tales,  and  the  living  sing  praises  for  their 
miraculous  escape.  El  medico  lleva  la  plata,  pero  Dios  es  que 
Sana  ! — God  works  the  cure,  the  doctor  sacks  the  fee  !  Mean- 
while the  sextons  are  busy  and  merry,  as  those  in  Hamlet,  and 
as  indeed  all  gravediggers  are,  when  they  have  a  job  on  hand 
that  will  be  paid  for  ;  deeply  do  they  dig  into  the  silent  earth, 
that  bourn  from  whence  no  travellers  return  to  blab.  They  sing 
and  jest,  while  dust  is  heaped  on  dust,  and  the  corpus  delicti 
covered,  and  with  it  the  blunders  of  the  medico ;  thus  all  parties, 
the  deceased  excepted,  are  well  satisfied  ;  the  man  with  the  lancet 
io  content  that  disagreeable  evidence  should  be  put  out  of  sight, 
the  fellow-labourer  with  the  spade  is  thankful  that  constant  means 
of  living  should  be  afforded  to  him  ;  and  when  the  funeral  is  over, 
both  carry  out  the  proverbial  practice  of  Peninsular  survivors  : 
Los  muertos  en  la  huesa,  y  los  vivos  a  la  mesa,  the  dead  in  their 
grave,  the  quick  to  their  diimer. 

But  at  no  period  were  Spaniards  careful  even  of  their  own 
lives,  and  nuich  less  of  those  of  others,  being  a  people  of  untender 
bowels.     Familiarity  with  pain  blunts  much  of  the  finer  feelings  of 

218  MEDICAL  ABUSES.  [chap.  xvii. 

persons  employed  even  in  our  hospitals,  for  those  who  live  by  the 
dead  have  only  an  undertaker's  sympathy  for  the  living,  and  are 
as  dull  to  tlie  poetry  of  innocent  health,  as  Mr.  Giblet  is  to  a 
sportive  house-fed  lamb.  Matters  are  not  improved  in  Spain, 
where  the  wounds,  blood,  and  slaughterings  of  the  pastime  bull- 
fight, the  mueran  or  deatli  mob-cries,  and  pasele  por  las  armas, 
the  shoot  him  on  the  spot,  the  Draco  and  Durango  decrees,  and 
practices  of  all  in  power,  educate  all  sexes  to  indifference  to  blood  ; 
thus  the  fatal  knife-stab  or  surgeon's  cut  are  viewed  as  cosas  de 
Espdaa  and  things  of  course.  The  philosophy  of  the  general 
indifference  to  life  in  Spain,  which  almost  amounts  to  Oriental 
fatalism,  in  the  number  of  executions  and  general  resignation  to 
blo(^dshed,  arises  partly  from  life  among  the  many  being  at  best 
but  a  struggle  for  existence ;  thus  in  setting  it  in  the  cast,  the 
player  only  stakes  coppers,  and  when  one  is  removed,  there  is 
somewhat  less  difficulty  for  survivors  ;  hence  every  one  is  for  him- 
self and  for  to-day  ;  apres  moi  le  deluge,  el  ultimo  mono  se  ahoga, 
the  last  monkey  is  drowned,  or  as  we  say,  the  devil  takes  the 

The  neglect  of  well-supported,  well-regulated  hospitals,  has 
recoiled  on  the  Spaniards.  The  rising  profession  are  deprived 
of  the  advantages  of  walking  them,  and  thus  beholding  every 
nice  difficulty  solved  by  experienced  masters.  Recently  some 
efforts  have  been  made  in  large  towns,  especially  on  the  coasts, 
to  introduce  reforms  and  foreign  ameliorations  ;  but  official  job- 
bing and  ignorant  routine  are  still  among  the  diseases  that  are 
?iOf  cured  in  Spain.  In  1811,  when  the  English  army  was  at 
Cadiz,  a  physician,  named  Villarino,  urged  by  some  of  our  in- 
dignant surgeons,  brought  the  disgraceful  condition  of  Spanish 
hospitals  before  tlie  Cortes.  A  commission  was  appointed,  and 
their  sad  report,  still  extant,  details  how  the  funds,  food,  wine, 
&c.,  destined  for  tiie  patients  were  consumed  by  the  managers 
and  their  subalterns.  The  results  were  such  as  might  be  ex- 
pected ;  the  authorities  held  together,  and  persecuted  Villarino 
as  a  revoliicioiuirio,  or  reformer,  and  succeeded  in  disgracing 
him.  The  superintendent  of  this  establishment  was  the  notorious 
Lozano  de  Torres,  wlio  starved  the  English  army  after  Talavera, 
and  was  "  a  thief  and  a  liar,"  in  the  words  of  the  Duke.  The 
Regency,  after  this  very  exposure  of  his  hospital,  promoted  him 

CHAP,  xvii.]  MEDICAL  ABUSES.  2  m 

to  the  civil  government  of  Old  Castile  ;  and  Ferdinand  VII.,  in 
1817,  made  him  Minister  of  Justice. 

As  buildings,  the  hospitals  are  generally  very  large ;  but  the  space 
is  as  thinly  tenanted  as  the  unpeopled  wastes  of  Spain.  In  Eng- 
land wards  are  wanting  for  patients — in  Spain,  patients  for  wards. 
The  names  of  some  of  the  greatest  hospitals  are  happily  cliosen  ; 
that  of  Seville,  for  instance,  is  called  La  Scmgre,  the  blood,  or 
LasCinco  Llagas,  the  five  bleeding  wounds  of  our  Saviour,  wliich 
are  sculptured  over  the  portal  like  bunches  of  grapes.  Blood  is 
an  ominous  name  for  this  house  and  home  of  Sangrado,  where 
the  lancet,  like  the  Spanisli  knife,  gives  no  quarter.  In  instru- 
ments of  life  and  death,  this  establishment  resembled  a  Spanish 
arsenal,  being  wanting  in  everything  at  tlie  critical  moment  ;  its 
dispensary,  as  in  the  shop  of  Shakspere's  apothecary,  presented 
a  beggarly  account  of  empty  pill-boxes,  while  as  to  a  visiting 
Brodie,  the  part  of  that  Hamlet  was  left  out.  The  grand  hospital 
at  Madrid  is  culled  el  general,  the  General,  and  the  medical  as- 
sistance is  akin  to  the  military  co-operation  of  such  Spanish 
generals  as  Lapeua  and  Venegas,  who  in  the  moment  of  need 
left  Graham  at  Barrosa,  and  the  Duke  at  Talavera,  without  a 
shadow  of  aid.  Tiiere  is  nothing  new  in  this,  if  the  old  proverb 
tells  truth,  socorros  de  Espana^  o  tarde  o  nunca ;  Spanisli  suc- 
cours arrive  late  or  never.  In  cases  of  battle,  war,  and  sudden 
death  as  in  peace,  the  professional  men,  military  or  medical,  are 
apt  to  assist  in  the  meaning  of  the  French  word  assister,  which 
signifies  to  be  present  without  taking  any  part  in  what  is  going 
on.  And  this  applies,  where  knocks  on  the  head  are  concerned, 
not  to  the  medical  men  only,  but  to  the  universal  Spanish  nation  ; 
when  any  one  is  stabbed  in  the  streets,  he  will  infallibly  bleed 
to  death,  unless  the  authorities  arrive  in  time  to  pick  him  up, 
and  to  bind  up  his  wounds  :  every  one  else — Englishmen  excepted, 
we  describe  things  witnessed — passes  on  the  other  side  ;  not  from 
any  fear  at  the  sight  of  blood,  nor  abhorrence  of  murder,  but 
from  the  dread  which  every  Spaniard  feels  at  the  very  idea  of 
getting  entangled  in  the  meshes  of  La  Justicia,  whose  ministers 
lay  hold  of  all  who  interfere  or  are  near  the  body  as  principals 
or  witnesses,  and  Spanish  justice,  if  once  it  gets  a  man  into  its 
fangs,  never  lets  him  go  until  drained  of  his  last  farthing. 

The  schools  and  hospitals,  especially  in  the  inland  remote  cities. 

220  COLLEGE  OF  SAN  CARLOS,  [chap.  xyii. 

are  very  deficient  in  all  improved  mechanical  appliances  and  modern 
discoveries,  and  the  few  wliich  are  to  be  met  with  are  mostly  of 
French  and  second-rate  manufacture.  It  is  much  the  same  with  their 
medical  treatises  and  technical  works ;  all  is  a  copy,  and  a  bad 
one  ;  it  has  been  found  to  be  much  easier  to  translate  and  borrow, 
than  to  invent ;  therefore,  as  in  modern  art  and  literature,  there 
is  little  originality  in  Spanish  medicine.  It  is  chiefly  a  veneering 
of  other  men's  ideas,  or  an  adaptation  of  ancient  and  Moorish 
science.  Most  of  their  terms  of  medicinal  art,  as  well  as  of  drugs, 
jalea,  elixir,  jarave,  rob,  sorbete,  julepe,  &c.,  are  purely  Arabic, 
and  indicate  the  sources  from  whence  the  knowledge  was  obtained, 
for  tliere  is  no  surer  historical  test  tlian  lanii^uacje  of  the  origfin 
from  whence  the  knowledge  of  the  science  was  derived  with  its 
phraseology  ;  and  whenever  Spaniards  depart  from  the  daring  ways 
of  their  ancestors,  it  is  to  adopt  a  timid  French  system.  The  few 
additions  to  their  medical  libraries  are  translations  from  their 
neighbours,  just  as  the  scanty  materia  medica  in  their  apothe- 
caries' shops  is  rendered  more  dangerous  and  ineffective  by  quack 
nostrums  from  Paris.  It  is  a  serious  misfortune  to  sanative 
science  in  the  Peninsula,  that  all  that  is  known  of  the  works  of 
thoughtful,  careful  Germany,  of  practical,  decided  England,  is 
passed  through  the  unfair,  inaccurate  alembic  of  French  transla- 
tion ;  thus  the  original  becomes  doubly  deteriorated,  and  the 
sacred  cosmopolitan  cause  of  truth  and  fact  is  too  often  sacri- 
ficed to  the  Gallic  mania  of  suppressing  both,  for  the  honour  of 
their  own  country.  Can  it  be  wondered,  therefore,  that  the  ac- 
quaintance of  the  Spanish  faculty  with  modern  works,  inventions, 
and  operations  is  very  limited,  or  that  their  text-books  and  autho- 
rities should  too  often  be  still  Galen,  Celsus,  Hippocrates,  and 
Boerhaave  ?  The  names  of  Hunter,  Harvey,  and  Astley  Cooper, 
are  scarcely  more  known  among  tlieir  M.D.'s  than  the  last  dis- 
coveries of  Herschel ;  the  light  of  such  distant  planets  has  not 
had  time  to  arrive. 

To  this  day  the  Colegio  de  Sa7i  Carlos,  or  the  College  of 
Surgeons  at  Madrid,  relies  much  on  teaching  the  obstetric  art 
by  means  of  wax  preparations  ;  but  learning  a  trade  on  paper  is 
not  confined  in  Sj^ain  to  medical  students  ;  the  great  naval 
school  at  Seville  is  dedicated  to  San  Telmo,  who,  uniting  in 
himself  the  attributes  of  the  anci'^nt  Castor  and  Pollux,  appears 


in  storms  at  the  mast-head  in  the  form  of  lights  to  rescue  seamen. 
Hence,  whenever  it  comes  on  to  blow,  the  pious  crews  of  Spanish 
crafts  fall  on  their  knees,  and  depend  on  this  marine  Hercules, 
instead  of  taking  in  sail,  and  putting  the  helm  up.  Our  tars, 
who  love  the  sea  propter  se,  for  better  for  worse,  having  no  San 
Telmo  to  help  them  in  foul  weather  (although  the  somewhat 
irreverent  gunner  of  the  Victory  did  call  him  of  Trafalgar" 
Saint  Nelson),  go  to  work  and  perform  the  miracle  themselves 
— aide  toi,  et  le  del  t^aidera.  In  our  time,  the  middies  in  this 
college  were  taught  navigation  in  a  room,  from  a  small  model  of 
a  three-decker  placed  on  a  large  table  ;  and  thus  at  least  they  were 
not  exposed  to  sea-sickness.  The  Infant  Antonio,  Lord  High 
Admiral  of  Spain,  was  walking  in  the  Retiro  gardens  near  the 
pond,  when  it  was  proposed  to  cross  in  a  boat ;  he  declined, 
saying,  "  Since  I  sailed  from  Naples  to  Spain  I  have  never  ven- 
tured on  water."  But,  in  this  and  some  other  matters,  things 
are  managed  differently  on  the  Thames  and  the  Baetis.  Thus, 
near  Greenwich  Hospital,  a  floating  frigate,  large  as  life,  is  the 
school  of  young  chips  of  old  blocks,  who  every  day  behold  in  the 
veterans  of  Cape  St.  Vincent  and  Trafalgar  living  examples  of 
having  "  done  their  duty."  The  evidence  of  former  victories 
thus  becomes  a  guarantee  for  the  realization  of  their  young  hopes, 
and  the  future  is  assured  by  the  past. 

Next  to  the  barracks,  prisons,  arsenals,  and  fortresses  of  Spain, 
the  establishments .  for  suffering  mortality  are  the  least  worth 
seeing,  and  are  the  most  to  be  avoided  by  wise  travellers,  who  can 
indulge  in  much  better  specimens  at  liome.  This  assertion  will 
be  better  understood  by  a  sketch  or  two  taken  on  the  spot  a  few 
years  ago.  The  so-called  asylums  for  lunatics  are  termed  in 
Spanish  hospitales  de  locos,  a  word  derived  from  the  Arabic, 
locao,  mad ;  they,  like  the  cognate  Morostans  r^wpoc)  of  Cairo, 
were  generally  so  mismanaged,  tliat  the  directors  appeared  to  be 
only  desirous  of  obtaining  admission  themselves.  Insanity  seemed 
to  derange  both  the  intellects  of  the  patients  and  to  harden  the 
bowels  of  their  attendants,  wliile  the  usual  misappropriation  of 
the  scanty  funds  produced  a  truly  reckless,  makeshift,  wretched 
result.  There  was  no  attempt  at  classification,  which  indeed 
is  no  thing  of  Spain.  The  inmates  were  crowded  together, — 
the   monomaniac,    the   insane,    the   raving  mad, — in  one  con- 

222  LUNATIC  ASYLUMS.  l-hap.  xvn. 

fusion  of  dirt  and  misery,  where  they  howled  at  each  other, 
chained  like  wild  beasts,  and  were  treated  even  worse  than 
criminals,  for  the  passions  of  the  most  outrajj^eous  were  infu- 
riated by  the  savage  lash.  There  was  not  even  a  curtain  to 
conceal  the  sad  necessities  of  these  human  beings,  then  reduced 
to  animals  :  everything  was  public  even  unto  death,  whose  last 
groan  was  mingled  with  the  frantic  laugh  of  the  surviving 
spectators.  In  some  rare  cases  the  bodies  of  those  whose  minds 
are  a  void,  were  confined  in  solitary  cells,  with  no  other  com- 
panions save  affliction.  Of  these,  many,  when  first  sent  there 
by  friends  and  relations  to  be  put  out  of  the  way,  were  not  mad, 
soon  indeed  to  become  so,  as  solitude,  sorrow,  and  the  iron  entered 
their  brain.  These  establishments,  which  the  natives  ought  to 
hide  in  shame,  were  usually  among  tlie  first  lions  which  they  forced 
on  the  stranger,  and  especially  on  the  Englishman,  since,  holding 
our  worthy  countrymen  to  be  all  locos,  they  naturally  imagined 
that  they  would  be  quite  at  home  among  the  inmates. 

They,  in  common  with  many  others  on  the  Continent,  entertain 
a  notion  that  all  Britons  bold  have  a  bee  in  their  bonnet ;  they 
think  so  on  many,  and  perhaps  not  always  unreasonable,  grounds. 
They  see  them  preferring  English  ways,  sayings,  and  doings,  to 
their  own,  wliich  of  itself  appears  to  a  Spaniard,  as  to  a  French- 
man, to  be  downright  insanity.  Then  our  countrymen  tell  the 
truth  in  bulletins,  use  towels,  and  remove  superfluous  hairs 
daily.  And  letting  alone  other  minor  exhibitions  of  eccentricity, 
are  not  the  natives  of  England,  Scotland,  and  Ireland  guilty  of 
three  actions,  any  one  of  wliich  would  qualify  for  Bedlam  if  the 
Lord  Ciiancellor  were  to  issue  a  writ  de  lunatico  inquirendo  ? — 
have  they  not  bled  for  Spain,  in  purse  and  person,  on  the  battle- 
field, on  the  railroad,  in  the  Stock  Exchange? — 

"  Oh  tribus  Antyceris  caput  insanabile !" 

To  return,  however,  to  Spanish  madmen  and  their  hospitals, 
the  siuht  was  a  sad  one,  and  alike  disgraceful  to  the  sane,  and 
degrading  to  the  insane  native.  The  wild  maniacs  implored  a 
"  loan  "  from  the  foreigner,  for  from  their  own  countrymen  they 
had  received  a  stone.  A  sort  of  madness  is  indeed  seldom  want- 
ing to  the  frantic  energy  and  intense  eagerness  of  all  Spanish 
mendicants ;  and  here,  albeit  the  reasoning  faculties  were  gone, 

cuAP.  xvii.I  FOUNDLING  HOSPITALS.  '223 

the  national  propensity  to  beg  and  borrow  survived  the  wreck  of 
intellect,  and  in  fact  it  was  and  is  the  indestructible  "  common 
sense  "  of  the  country. 

There  was  generally  some  particular  patient  whose  aggravated 
misery  made  him  or  her  the  especial  object  of  cruel  curiosity. 
Thus,  at  Toledo,  in  1843,  the  keepers  (fit  wild  beast  term) 
always  conducted  strangers  to  the  cage  or  den  of  the  wife  of  a 
celebrated  Captain-General  and  first-rate  fusilier  of  Catalonia, 
an  officer  superior  in  power  to  our  Lord-Liexxtenant  of  Ireland. 
She  was  permitted  to  wallow  in  naked  filth,  and  be  made  a  public 
show.  The  Moors,  at  least,  do  not  confine  tlieir  harmless  female 
maniacs,  who  wander  naked  through  the  streets,  while  the  men 
are  honoured  as  saints,  whose  minds  are  supposed  to  be  wander- 
ing in  heaven.  The  old  Iberian  doctors,  accoiding  to  Pliny, 
professed  to  cure  madness  with  the  herb  rettonicaj  and  hydrophobia 
with  decoction  of  the  cynorrlwdon  or  dog-rose-water,  as  being 
doubly  unpalateable  to  the  rabid  canine  species.  The  modern 
Spaniards  seemed  only  to  desire,  by  ignorance  and  ill-usage,  to 
darken  any  lucid  interval  into  one  raving  uniformity. 

The  foundling  hospitals  were,  when  we  last  examined  them, 
scarcely  better  managed  than  the  lunatic  asylums  ;  they  are 
called  casus  de  espositos,  houses  of  the  exposed — or  la  Ciaia.,  the 
cradle,  as  if  they  were  the  cradle,  not  the  cofifin,  of  miserable  in- 
fants. Most  large  cities  in  Spain  have  one  of  these  receptacles  ; 
the  principal  being  in  the  Levitical  towns,  and  the  natural  fruit 
of  a  rich  celibate  clergy,  botli  regular  and  secular.  The  Cuna 
in  our  time  niigiit  have  been  defined  as  a  place  where  innocents 
were  massacred,  and  natural  children  deserted  by  their  unnatural 
parents  were  provided  for  by  being  starved.  These  hospitals 
were  first  founded  at  Milan  in  787,  by  a  priest  named  Datheus. 
That  of  Seville,  which  we  will  describe,  was  establislied  by  the 
clergy  of  tlie  cathedral,  and  was  managed  by  twelve  directors, 
six  lay  and  six  clerical ;  few,  however,  attended  or  contributed  save 
in  subjects.  The  hospital  is  situate  in  the  Calle  de  la  Cuna ; 
near  an  aperture  left  for  charitable  donations,  is  a  marble 
tablet  witli  this  verse  from  the  Psalms,  inscribed  in  Latin, 
*•'  Wlien  my  father  and  mother  forsake  me,  then  tJie  Lord  will 
take  me  in." 

A  wicket  door  is  pierced  in  the  wall,  which  opens  on  being 

224  FOUNDLING  HOSPITAL  AT  SEVILLE,      [chap.  xvii. 

tapped  to  admit  the  sinless  children  of  sin  ;  and  a  nurse  sits 
up  at  niglij;  to  receive  those  exposed  by  parents  who  hide  their 
guilt  in  darkness. 

"  Toi  que  I'amour  fit  par  un  crime, 

Et  que  I'amour  de'fait  par  un  crime  a  son  tour, 
Funestc  ouvrage  de  ramour, 
De  Tamour  funeste  victime."' 

Some  of  the  babies  are  already  dying,  and  are  put  in  here  in 
order  to  avoid  the  expense  of  a  funeral ;  others  are  almost  naked, 
while  a  few  are  well  supplied  with  linen  and  necessaries.  These 
latter  are  the  offspring  of  the  better  classes,  by  whom  a  tempo- 
rary concealment  is  desired.  With  such  the  most  affecting 
letters  are  left,  praying  the  nurses  to  take  more  than  usual  care 
of  a  child  which  will  surely  be  one  day  reclaimed,  and  a  mark 
or  ornament  is  usually  fastened  to  the  infant,  in  order  that  it 
may  be  identified  hereafter,  if  called  for,  and  such  were  the  precise 
customs  in  antiquity.  Every  particular  regarding  every  exposed 
babe  is  registered  in  a  book,  which  is  a  sad  record  of  human 
crime  and  remorse. 

Those  children  which  are  afterwards  reclaimed,  pay  about  six- 
pence for  every  day  during  which  the  hospital  has  maintained 
them  ;  but  little  attention  is  paid  to  the  appeals  for  particular 
care,  or  to  the  promise  of  redemi)tion,  for  Spaniards  seldom  trust 
each  other.  Unless  some  name  is  sent  with  it,  the  child  is 
baptized  with  one  given  by  the  matron,  and  it  usually  is  that  of 
the  saint  of  the  day  of  its  admission.  The  number  was  very  great, 
and  increased  with  increasing  poverty,  while  the  funds  destined 
to  support  the  charges  decreased  from  the  same  cause.  There  is 
a  certain  and  great  influx  nine  months  after  the  Holy  week  and 
Christmas,  when  the  whole  city,  male  and  female,  pass  the  night 
in  kneeling  to  relics  and  images,  &c.  ;  accordingly  nine  months 
afterwards,  in  January  and  November,  the  daily  nnmliers  often 
exceed  the  usual  average  by  fifteen  to  twenty. 

There  is  always  a  supply  of  wet  nurses  at  the  Cuna,  but  they 
are  generally  such  as  from  bad  character  cannot  obtain  situations 
in  private  families ;  the  usual  allotment  was  three  children  to 
one  nurse.  Sometimes,  when  a  respectable  woman  is  looking 
out  for  a  place  as  wet-nurse,  and  is  anxious  not  to  lose  her 
breast  of  milk,  she  goes,  in  the  meanwhile,  to  the  Cuna,  when 


the  poor  child  who  draws  it  off  plumps  up  a  little,  and  then,  when 
the  supply  is  withdrawn,  withers  and  dies.  The  appointed  nurses 
dole  out  their  milk,  not  according  to  the  wants  of  the  infants,  but 
to  make  it  do  for  their  number.  Some  few  are  farmed  out  to  poor 
mothers  who  have  lost  their  own  babe  ;  they  receive  about  eight 
shillings  a  month,  and  these  are  the  children  which  have  the 
best  chance  of  surviving,  for  )io  woman  who  has  been  a  mother, 
and  has  given  suck,  will  willingly,  when  left  alone,  let  an  infant 
die.  The  nurses  of  the  Cuna  were  familiar  with  starvation,  and 
even  if  their  milk  of  human  kindness  were  not  dried  up  or 
soured,  they  have  not  the  means  of  satisfying  their  hungry 
number.  The  proportion  who  died  was  frightful ;  it  was  indeed 
an  organized  system  of  infanticide.  Death  is  a  mercy  to  the 
child,  and  a  saving  to  t!ie  establishment ;  a  grown-up  man's  life 
never  was  worth  much  in  Spain,  much  less  that  of  a  deserted 
baby.  Tlie  exposure  of  children  to  immediate  death  by  the 
Greeks  and  Romans,  was  a  trifle  less  cruel  than  the  protracted 
dying  in  tliese  Spanish  charnel-houses.  This  Cuna.,  when  last 
we  visited  it,  was  managed  by  an  inferior  priest,  who,  a  true 
Spanish  unjust  steward,  misapplied  the  funds.  He  became  rich, 
like  Gil  Bias's  overseer  at  Valladolid,  by  taking  care  of  the  pro- 
perty of  the  poor  and  fatherless  ;  his  well-garnished  quarters 
and  portly  self  were  in  strange  contrast  Avith  the  condition  of  his 
wasted  charges.  Of  these,  the  sick  and  dying  were  separated  from 
the  healthy  ;  the  former  were  placed  in  a  large  room,  once  the 
saloon  of  state,  whose  gilded  roof  and  fair  proportions  mocked  the 
present  misery.  The  infants  were  laid  in  rows  on  dirty  mattresses 
along  on  the  floor,  and  were  left  unheeded  and  unattended. 
Their  large  heads,  shrivelled  necks,  hollow  eyes,  and  wax  wan 
figures,  were  shadowed  w'ith  coming  death.  Called  into  existence 
by  no  wish  or  fault  of  their  own,  their  brief  span  was  run  out 
ere  begun,  while  their  mother  was  far  away  exclaiming,  "  When 
I  have  sufliiciently  wept  for  his  birth,  I  will  weep  for  his  death." 
Those  who  were  more  healthy  lay  paired  in  cradles  arranged 
along  a  vast  room ;  but  famine  was  in  their  cheeks,  need  starved 
in  their  eyes,  and  their  slirill  cry  pained  the  ear  on  passing  the 
threshold  ;  from  their  being  underfed,  they  were  restless  and 
ever  moaning.  Their  existence  has  indeed  begun  witli  a  sob,  with 
Ei  primer  sollozo  de  la  Cwia,  the  first  sigh  of  the  cradle,  asRioja 

226  FOUNDLING  HOSPITAL  AT  SEVILLE.      [chap.  xvii. 

says,  but  all  cry  when  entering  the  world,  while  many  leave  it 
with  smiles.  Some,  the  newly  exposed,  just  parted  from  their 
mother's  breast,  liaving  sucked  their  last  farewell,  looked  plump 
and  rosy  ;  they  slept  soundly,  blind  to  the  future,  and  happily 
unconscious  of  their  fate. 

About  one  in  twelve  survived  to  idle  about  the  hospital,  ill 
clad,  ill  fed,  and  worse  taught.  The  boys  were  destined  for  the 
army,  the  girls  for  domestic  service,  nay,  for  worse,  if  public 
report  did  not  wrong  their  guardian  priest.  Tliey  grew  up  to 
be  selfish  and  unaffectionate  ;  having  never  known  what  kind- 
ness was,  their  young  hearts  closed  ere  they  opened  ;  "  the  world 
v/as  not  their  friend,  nor  the  world's  law."  It  was  on  their 
heads  that  the  barber  learned  to  shave,  and  on  them  were  visited 
the  sins  of  their  parents  ;  having  had  none  to  care  for  them, 
none  to  love,  they  revenged  themselves  by  hating  mankind. 
Their  occupation  consisted  in  speculating  on  who  their  parents 
may  be,  and  whether  they  should  some  day  be  reclaimed  and 
become  rich.  A  few  occasionally  are  adopted  by  benevolent 
and  childless  persons,  wlio,  visiting  the  Cuna,  take  a  fency  to  an 
interesting  infant;  but  the  child  is  liable  ever  after  to  be  given 
up  to  its  parents,  should  they  reclaim  it.  Townshend  men- 
tions an  Oriental  custom  at  Barcelona,  where  the  girls  when 
marriageable  were  paraded  in  procession  through  the  streets, 
and  any  desirous  of  taking  a  wife  was  at  liberty  to  select  his 
object  by  "  throwing  his  handkerchief."  This  Spanish  custom 
still  prevails  at  Kaples. 

Such  was  the  Cima  of  Seville  when  we  last  beheld  it.  It  is 
now,  as  we  have  recently  lieard  with  much  pleasure,  admirably 
conducted,  having  been  taken  in  charge  by  some  benevolent 
ladies,  who  here  as  elsewhere  are  the  best  nurses  and  guardians 
of  man  in  his  first  or  second  infancy,  not  to  say  of  every  inter- 
mediate stage. 

Our  readers  will  concur  in  deeniino^  that  wio,ht  unfortunate 
who  falls  ill  in  Spain,  as,  whatever  be  his  original  complaint,  it 
is  too  often  followed  by  secondary  and  worse  symptoms,  in  the 
shape  of  the  native  doctor  ;  and  if  the  judgment  passed  by  Spa- 
niards on  that  member  of  society  be  true,  Esculapius  cannot  save 
the  invalid  from  the  crows  ;  the  faculty  even  at  Madrid  are  little 
in  advance  of  their    provincial  colleagues,  nay,  often  they  are 


more  destructive,  since,  being  practitioners  in  the  only  court,  the 
heaven  on  earth,  they  are  in  proportion  superior  to  the  medical 
men  of  the  rest  of  the  Morld,  of  whom  of  course  they  can  learn 
nothing.  They  are,  however,  at  least  a  century  behind  their 
brother  professors  of  England.  An  unreasonable  idea  of  self- 
excellence  arises  both  in  nations  and  in  individuals,  from  having 
no  knowledge  of  the  relative  merits  of  others,  and  from  having 
few  grounds  or  matei'ials  whereon  to  raise  comparison  ;  it  exists 
therefore  the  strongest  among  the  most  uninformed  and  those 
who  mix  the  least  in  the  world.  Thus  in  spite  of  manifold 
deficiencies,  some  of  which  will  be  detailed,  the  self-esteem  of 
these  medical  men  exceeds,  if  possible,  that  of  the  military ; 
both  have  killed  their  "  ten  tliousands."  They  hold  themselves 
to  be  the  first  sabrcurs,  physicians,  and  surgeons  on  earth,  and 
the  best  qualified  to  wield  the  shears  of  the  Parcae.  It  would 
be  a  waste  of  time  to  try  to  dispel  this  fatal  delusion  ;  the  well- 
intentioned  monitor  would  simply  be  set  down  as  malevolent, 
envious,  and  an  ass  ;  for  they  think  their  ignorance  tlie  perfec- 
tion of  human  skill.  Few  foreigners  can  ever  hope  to  succeed 
among  them,  nor  can  any  native  who  may  have  studied  abroad, 
easily  introduce  a  better  system  :  his  elder  bretliren  would  make 
common  cause  against  him  as  an  innovator  ;  he  would  be  sum- 
moned to  no  consultations,  the  most  lucrative  branch  of  practice, 
while  the  confessors  would  poison  the  ears  of  the  women  (who 
govern  the  men)  with  cautions  against  the  danger  to  their 
souls,  of  having  their  bodies  cured  by  a  Jew,  a  heretic,  or  a 
foreigner,  for  the  terms  are  almost  convertible. 

Meanwhile,  as  in  couits  of  justice  and  other  matters  in  Spain, 
all  sounds  admirably  on  paper — the  forms,  regulations,  and 
system  are  perfect  in  theory.  Colleges  of  physicians  and  sur- 
geons superintend  the  science,  the  professors  are  members  of 
infinite  learned  societies,  lectures  are  delivered,  examinations  are 
conducted,  and  certificates  duly  signed  and  sealed,  are  given. 
The  young  Galenista  is  furnished  with  a  licence  to  kill,  but  what 
is  wanting  from  beginning  to  end,  to  practitioner  and  patient,  is 
life.  The  medical  men  know,  nevertheless,  every  aphorism  of 
the  ancients  by  rote,  and  discourse  as  eloquently  and  plausibly 
on  any  case  as  do  their  ministers  in  Cortes.  Both  write  capital 
theories  and  opinions  extemporaneously.  Their  splendid  lan- 
guage supplies  words  which  seem  to  have  cost  thought.     "What 

228  MEDICAL  EDUCATION.  [chap.  xvn. 

is  deficient  is  tliat  clinical  and  best  of  education  where  the  case 
is  brouq;ht  before  the  student  with  the  corollary  of  skilful  treat- 
ment :  accidental  deaths  are  consequently  more  common  than 

Dissection  again  is  even  now  repulsive  to  their  Oriental  pre- 
judices ;  the  pupils  learn  rather  by  plates,  diagrams,  models, 
preparations,  and  skeletons,  than  from  anatomical  experiments 
on  a  subject.  As  among  the  ancients  and  in  the  East  to  this  day 
an  idea  is  prevalent  among  the  masses  in  Spain,  that  the  touch 
of  a  dead  body  pollutes  ;  nor  is  the  objection  raised  by  the  clergy, 
that  it  savours  of  impiety  to  mutilate  a  form  made  in  the  image  of 
God,  yet  explofled.  It  will  be  remembered  by  our  medical 
readers,  if  we  have  any,  that  Vezalius,  the  father  of  modern 
anatomy,  when  at  Madrid  was  demanded  by  the  Inquisition  from 
Philip  II.,  to  be  burnt  for  having  performed  an  operation. 
The  kint?  sent  him  to  expiate  liis  sin  by  a  pilgrimage  to  the  Holy 
Land  ;  he  was  shipwrecked,  and  died  of  starvation  at  Zante. 

Can  it  be  wondered  at,  v.ith  such  a  tlieoretical  education, 
that  practice  should  continue  to  be  antiquated,  classical,  and 
Oriental,  and  necessarily  very  limited  ?  In  difficult  cases  of 
compound  fracture,  gun-shot  wounds,  the  doctors  give  the 
patient  up  almost  at  once,  although  they  continue  to  meet  and 
take  fees,  until  death  relieves  him  of  his  complicated  sufferings. 
In  chronic  cases  and  slighter  fractures  they  are  less  dangerous ; 
for  as  tiieir  pottering  remedies  do  neither  good  nor  harm,  the 
struggle  for  life  and  death  is  left  to  nature,  who  sometimes  works 
the  cure.  In  acute  diseases  and  inflammations  they  seldom  suc- 
ceed ;  for  however  fond  of  the  lancet,  they  only  nibble  with  the 
case,  and  are  scared  at  the  bold  decided  practice  of  Englishmen, 
whereat  they  shrug  up  shoulders,  invoke  saints,  asid  descant 
learnedly  on  the  impossibility  of  treating  complaints  under  the 
brio-ht  sun  and  warm  air  of  Catholic  Spain,  after  the  formulae  of 
cold,  damp,  and  foggy,  heretical  England. 

Most  Spaniards  who  can  afford  it  have  their  family  or  bolster 
doctor,  the  3Iedico  de  Cahcccra,  and  their  confessor.  This  pair 
take  care  of  the  bodies  and  souls  of  the  whole  house,  bring  them 
gossip,  sliare  their  puchero,  purse,  and  tobacco.  They  rule  the 
husband  through  the  women  and  the  nurseiy,  nor  do  they  allow 
their  exclusive  privileges  to  be  infringed  on.  Etiquette  is  the 
life  of  a  Spaniard,  and  often  his  death,  since  every  one  has  heard 


(the  Spaniards  swear  it  is  all  a  French  lie)  that  Philip  III.  was 
killed,  rather  than  violate  a  form.     He  was  seated  too  near  the 
fire,  and,  although  burning,  of  course  as  king  of  Spain  the  im- 
propriety of  moving  himself  never  entered  his  head,  and  when 
he  requested  one  of  his  attendants  to  do  so,  none,  in  the  absence 
of  the  proper  officer  whose  duty  it  was  to  superintend  the  royal 
chair,  ventured  to  take  that  improper  liberty.    In  case  of  sudden 
emergencies  among  her   Catholic  Majesty's  subjects,  unless  the 
family  doctor  be  present,  any  other  one,  even  if  called  in,  gene- 
rally declines  acting  until  the  regular  Esculapius  arrives.     An 
English  medical  friend  of  ours  saved  a  Spaniard's  life  by  chancing 
to  arrive  when  the  patient,  in  an  apoplectic  fit,  was  foaming  at 
the  mouth  and  wrestling  with  death  ;  all   this  time  a  strange 
doctor  was  sitting  quietly  in  the  next  room  smoking  his  cigar  at 
the  brasero,  the  chafing-dish,  with  the  women  of  the  family. 
Our  friend  instantly  took  30  ounces  from  the  sufferer's  arm,  not 
one  of  the  Spanish  party  even  moving  from  their  seats.     I'hus 
Apollo  preserved  him !     The  same  medical  gentleman  happened 
to  accidentally  call  on  a  person  who  had  an  inflammation  in  the 
cornea  of  the  eye  :  on  questioning  he  found  that  many  consulta- 
tions had  been  previously  held,  at  which  no  determination  was 
come  to  until  at  the  last,  when  sea-bathing  was  prescribed,  with 
a  course  of  asses'  milk  and  Chiclana  snake-broth  ;  our  heretical 
friend,  who  lacked  the  true  faith,  just  touched  the  diseased  part 
with  caustic.     When  this  application  was  reported  at  the  ne^xt 
consultation,  the   native   doctors   all   crossed    themselves    witli 
horror  and  amazement,  which  was  increased  when  the  patient 
recovered  in  a  week. 

As  a  general  rule  at  the  first  visit,  they  look  as  wise  as  pos- 
sible, shake  their  heads  before  the  women,  and  always  magnify 
the  complaint,  which  is  a  safe  proceeding  all  over  the  world, 
since  all  physicians  can  either  cure  or  kill  the  patient ;  in  the  first 
event  they  get  greater  credit  and  reward,  while  in  the  other 
alternative,  the  disease,  having  been  beyond  the  reach  of  art, 
bears  the  blame.  The  medicos  exhibit  considerable  ingenuity  in 
prolonging  an  apparent  necessity  for  a  continuance  of  their 
visits.  A  common  interest  induces  them  to  pull  together — a 
rare  exception  in  Spain — and  play  into  each  other's  hands.  The 
family  doctor,  whenever  appearances  will  in  anywise  justify  him, 


230  MEDICAL  COSTUME.  [chap.  xvii. 

becomes  alarmed,  and  requires  a  consultation,  a  Junta.  What 
any  Spanish  Junta  is  in  afFairs  of  peace  or  war  need  not  be  ex- 
plained ;  and  these  are  like  the  rest,  they  either  do  nothing,  or 
what  they  do  do,  is  done  badly.  At  these  meetings  from  three 
to  seven  3Iedicos  de  apelacion,  consulting  physicians,  attend,  or 
more,  according  to  the  patient's  purse  :  each  goes  to  the  sick 
man,  feels  his  pulse,  asks  him  some  questions,  and  then  retires 
to  the  next  room  to  consult,  generally  allowing  the  invalid  the 
benefit  of  hearing  what  passes.  The  Protomedico,  or  senior, 
takes  the  chair ;  and  while  all  are  lighting  their  cigars,  the 
family  doctor  opens  the  case,  by  stating  the  birth,  parentage, 
and  history  of  the  patient,  his  constitution,  the  complaint,  and 
the  medicines  hitherto  prescribed.  The  senior  next  rises,  and 
gives  his  opinion,  often  speaking  for  half  an  hour  ;  the  others 
follow  in  their  rotation,  and  then  the  Protomedico,  like  a  judge, 
sums  up,  going  over  each  opinion  with  comments  :  the  usual 
termination  is  either  to  confirm  the  previous  treatment,  or  make 
some  insignificant  alteration :  the  only  certain  thing  is  to  ap- 
point another  consultation  for  the  next  day,  for  which  the  fees 
are  heavy,  each  taking  from  three  to  five  dollars.  The  con- 
sultation often  lasts  many  hours,  and  becomes  at  last  a  chronic 

It  must  be  said,  in  justice  to  these  able  practitioners,  that  as  a 
body  they  are  careful  in  their  dress  :  external  appearance,  not  to 
say  finery  in  apparel,  raises  in  the  eyes  of  the  many,  a  profession 
which  here  is  of  uncertain  social  standing.  On  the  same  prin- 
ciple how  careful  is  the  costume,  how  brilliant  are  the  shirt- 
studs  of  foreign  fiddlers  when  in  England  !  The  worthy  Anda- 
lucian  doctor  of  our  Spanish  family,  and  an  eflficient  one,  as  two 
of  his  patients  now  at  rest  could  testify,  never  paid  a  visit  except 
when  gaily  attired.  So  the  Matador,  when  he  enters  the  arena 
to  kill  the  bull,  is  clad  as  a  first-rate  dandy  mojo.  This  attention 
to  person  arises  partly  from  the  Moro-Ibero  love  of  ostentation, 
and  partly  from  sound  GaiCnic  principles  and  a  high  sense  of  pro- 
fessional duty.  The  ancient  authorities  enforced  on  the  prac- 
titioner an  attention  to  everything  which  created  cheerful  im- 
pi'essions,  in  order  that  he  might  arrive  at  the  patient's  pillow 
like  a  messenger  of  good  tidings,  and  as  a  minister  of  health,  not 
of  death.     They  held  that  a  grave  costume  might  suggest  un- 


pleasant  associations  to  the  sick  man.  Eaven-coloured  undertaker 
tiglits,  and  a  funereal,  cadaverous  look  to  match,  are  harbingers 
of  blue  devils  and  black  crape,  which  no  man,  even  when  in 
blessed  health,  contemplates  with  comfort ;  while  the  effect  of 
such  a  facies  hippocratica  staring  in  the  face  of  a  poor  devil 
whose  life  is  despaired  of,  must  be  fatal. 

The  prescriptions  of  these  well-dressed  gentlemen  are  some- 
what more  old-fashioned  than  their  coats.  Their  grand  recipe 
in  the  first  instance  is  to  do  nothing  beyond  taking  the  fee  and 
leaving  nature  alone,  or,  as  the  set  phrase  has  it,  dejar  d  la 
naturaleza.  The  young  and  those  whose  constitutions  are  strong 
and  whose  complaints  are  weak,  do  well  under  the  healing  in- 
fluence of  their  kind  nurse  Nature,  and  recover  through  her 
vis  medicatrix,  which,  if  not  obstructed  by  art,  everywhere  works 
wonderful  cures.  The  Sangrado  will  say  tliat  a  Spanish  man  or 
woman  is  more  marvellously  made  than  a  clock,  inasmuch  as  his  or 
her  machinery  has  a  power  in  itself  to  regulate  its  own  motions, 
and  to  repair  accidents ;  and  therefore  the  watchmaker  who  is 
called  in,  need  not  be  in  a  hurry  to  take  it  to  pieces  when  a  little 
oiling  and  cleaning  may  set  all  to  rights.  The  remedies,  when  the 
proper  time  for  their  application  arrives,  are  simple,  and  are 
sought  for  rather  among  the  vegetables  of  the  eartli's  surface 
than  from  the  minerals  in  its  bowels.  The  external  recipes  con- 
sist chiefly  of  papers  smeared  witli  lard,  applied  to  the  abdomen, 
sinapisms  and  mustard  poultices  to  the  feet,  fomentations  of 
marsh-mallows  or  camomile  flowers,  and  the  aid  of  the  curate. 
The  internal  remedies,  the  tisanes,  the  Leches  de  Almendras,  de 
Burros,  decoctions  of  rice,  and  so  forth,  succeed  each  other  in 
such  regular  order,  that  the  patient  scholar  has  nothing  to  do  but 
repeat  the  medical  passages  in  Horace's  '  Satires.'  In  no  coun- 
try, however,  can  all  the  sick  be  always  expected  to  recover 
even  then,  since  "  Para  todo  hay  remedio,  sino  para  la  muerte" 
— "  There  is  a  remedy  for  everything  except  death."  If  by 
chance  the  patient  dies,  the  doctor  and  the  disease  bear  tlie 
blame.  Perhaps  the  old  Iberian  custom  was  the  safest ;  then  the 
sick  were  exposed  outside  their  doors,  and  the  advice  of  casual 
passengers  was  asked,  whose  prescriptions  were  quite  as  likely  to 
answer  as  images,  relics,  snake-soup,  or  milk  of  almonds  or 
asses : — 

R  2 

232  DRUGGISTS.  [chap.  xvii. 

"  And,  doctor,  do  you  really  think 
That  asses'  milk  I  ought  to  drink  ? 
It  cured  yourself,  I  grant,  is  true, 
But  then  't  was  mother's  milk  to  you." 

Nor,  if  the  doctors  knew  how  to  prescribe  them,  are  the 
nicer  and  most  efficacious  remedies,  the  preparations  of  mo- 
dern chemical  science,  to  be  procured  in  any  except  the  very 
largest  towns ;  although,  as  in  Romeo's  apothecary,  "  the 
needy  "  shelves  are  filled  with  empty  boxes  "  to  make  a  show." 
The  trade  of  a  druggist  is  anything  but  free,  and  the  numbers 
are  limited ;  none  may  open  a  Botica  without  a  strict  exa- 
mination and  licence ;  although,  of  course,  this  is  to  be  had  for 
money.  None  may  sell  any  potent  medicine,  except  according 
to  the  prescription  of  some  local  medical  man ;  everything  is  a 
monopoly.  The  commonest  drugs  are  often  either  wanting  or 
grossly  adulterated,  but,  as  in  their  arsenals  and  larders,  no  dis- 
penser will  admit  such  destitution ;  hay  de  todo,  I  have  every 
thing,  swears  he,  and  gallantly  makes  up  the  prescription  simply 
by  substituting  other  ingredients ;  and  as  the  correct  ones  nine 
times  out  of  ten  are  harmless,  no  great  injury  is  sustained. 
There  is  nothing  new  in  this,  for  Quevedo,  in  his  ZaJmrdas  de 
Pluton,  or  Satan's  Pigsties,  introduces  a  yellow-faced  bilious 
judge  scourging  Spanish  apothecaries  for  doing  exactly  the 
same,  "  Hence  your  shops,"  quoth  he,  for  he  both  preached  and 
flogged,  "  are  arsenals  of  death,  whose  ministers  here  get  their 
pills  (balls  rather)  which  banish  souls  from  the  earth ;"  but 
these  and  other  things  have  been  long  done  with  impunity,  as 
Pliny  said,  no  pliysician  was  ever  hung  for  murder.  One  ad- 
vantage of  general  distrust  in  drugs  and  doctors  is,  that  the  great 
masses  of  the  people  think  very  little  about  them  or  their  com- 
plaints :  thus  they  escape  all  fancied  and  imaginary  complaints, 
which,  if  indulged  in,  become  chronic,  and  more  difficult  to 
cure  than  those  afflicting  the  body — for  who  can  minister  to  a 
mind  diseased  ?  Again,  from  this  want  of  confidence  in  remedies, 
very  little  physic  at  all  is  taken  ;  owing  to  this  limited  demand, 
druggists'  shops  are  as  rare  in  Spain  as  those  of  booksellers. 
No  red,  green,  or  blue  bottles  illuminate  the  streets  at  night, 
and  there  are  more  of  these  radiant  orbs  in  the  Fore  street  of 
the  capital  of  the  west  of  England,  than  in  the  whole  capital  of 

CHAP,  xvn.]  SNAKE-BROTH.  233 

the  Spains,  albeit  with  a  population  six  times  greater.  It  is  true 
that,  at  Madrid,  feeding  on  plum-pudding,  diluted  with  sour 
cider  and  clotted  cream,  is  not  habitual. 

Many  of  the  prescriptions  of  Spain  are  local,  and  consist  of 
some  particular  spring,  some  herb,  some  animal,  or  some  parti- 
cular air,  or  place,  or  bath,  is  recommended,  which,  however,  is 
said  to  be  very  dangerous,  unless  some  resident  local  medico  be 
first  consulted.  One  example  is  as  good  as  a  thousand  :  near 
Cadiz  is  Chiclana,  to  which  the  faculty  invariably  transport  those 
patients  whom  they  cannot  cure,  that  is,  about  ninety-five  in  the 
hundred ;  so  in  chronic  complaints  sea-bathing  there,  is  prescribed, 
with  a  course  of  asses'  milk  ;  and  if  that  fail,  then  a  broth  made 
of  a  long  harmless  snake,  which  abounds  in  the  aromatic  wastes 
near  Barrosa.  We  Iiave  forgotten  the  generic  name  of  this 
valuable  reptile  of  Esculapius,  one  of  which  our  naturalists 
should  take  alive,  and  either  breed  from  it  in  the  Regent's  Park, 
or  at  least  investigate  his  comparative  anatomy  with  those 
exquisite  vipers  which  make,  as  we  have  shown,  such  delicious 
pork  at  Montanches. 

We  cannot  refrain  from  giving  one  more  prescription.  Manj'' 
of  the  murders  in  Spain  should  rather  be  called  homicides,  being 
free  from  malice  prepense,  and  caused  by  the  readiness  of  the 
national  cuclullo,  witli  which  all  the  lower  classes  are  armed  like 
wasps;  it  is  thus  always  at  hand,  when  the  blood  is  most  on  fire, 
and  before  any  refrigeratory  process  commences.  Thus,  where  an 
unarmed  Englishman  closes  his  fist,  a  Spaniard  opens  liis  knife. 
This  rascally  instrument  becomes  fatal  in  jealous  broils,  when 
the  lower  classes  light  their  anger  at  the  torch  of  the  Furies,  and 
prefer  using,  to  speaking  daggers.  Then  the  thrust  goes  home ; 
and  however  unskilled  the  regular  Sangrados  may  be  in  anatomy 
and  liaiiilling  the  scalpel,  the  universal  people  know  exactly  how  to 
manage  their  knife  and  where  to  plant  its  blow  ;  nor  is  there  any 
mistake,  for  the  wound,  although  not  so  deep  as  a  well,  nor  so 
wide  as  a  cliurch  door,  "  't  will  serve."  It  is  usually  given  after 
the  treacherous  fashion  of  their  Oriental  and  Iberian  ancestors, 
and  if  possible  by  a  stab  behind,  and  "  under  the  fifth  rib  ;"  and 
"  one  blow"  is  enougli.  The  blade,  like  the  cognate  Arkansas 
or  Bowie  knife  of  the  Yankees,  will  "  rip  up  a  man  right  away," 
or  drill  him  until  a  surgeon  can  see  through  his  body.     The 

2;m  salve  for  knife-cuts.  [chap.  xiii. 

number  killed  on  great  religious  and  other  festivals,  exceeds 
those  of  most  Spanish  battles  in  the  field,  although  the  occur- 
rence is  scarcely  noticed  in  the  newspapers,  so  much  is  it  a 
matter  of  course ;  but  crimes  which  call  forth  a  second  edition 
and  double  sheet  in  our  papers,  are  slurred  over  on  the  Continent, 
for  foreigners  conceal  Avhat  we  most  display. 

In  minor  cases  of  flirtation,  where  capital  punishment  is  not 
called  for,  the  offending  party  just  gashes  the  cheek,  of  the  pec- 
cant one,  and  suiting  the  word  to  the  action  observes,  "  ya  estas 
senalad"  "Now  you  are  marked."  This  is  precisely  wm^e/ 
quarte,  the  gash  in  the  cheek,  which  is  the  only  salve  for  the 
touchy  honour  of  a  German  student,  when  called  ein  dummer 
junge,  a  stupid  youth  : — 

"  Und  ist  die  quart  gesessen 
So  ist  der  touche  vergessen." 

Again,  "  Mira  que  te  pego,  mira  que  te  mato^''  "  Mind  I  don't 
strike  thee — mind  I  don't  kill  thee ;"  are  playful  fondling  ex- 
pressions of  a  Maja  to  a  Mojo.  When  this  particular  gash  is 
only  threatened,  the  Seville  phrase  was,  "  Mira  que  te  pinto  un 
jaheque ;"  "  Take  care  that  I  don't  draw  you  a  xebeck  "  (the  sharp 
Mediterranean  felucca).  "  They  jest  at  wounds  who  never  felt 
a  scar,"  but  whenever  this  jaheque  has  really  been  inflicted, 
the  patient,  ashamed  of  the  stigma,  and  not  having  the  face  to 
show  himself  or  herself,  is  naturally  anxious  to  recover  a  good 
character  and  skin,  which  only  one  cosmetic,  one  sovereign 
panacea,  can  eflect.  This  in  Philip  IV.'s  time  was  cat's  grease, 
which  then  removed  such  superfluous  marks  ;  while  Don  Quixote 
considered  the  oil  of  Apariccio  to  be  the  only  cure  for  scratches 
inflicted  by  female  or  feline  claws. 

In  process  of  time,  as  science  advanced,  this  was  superseded 
by  Unto  del  hombre,  or  man's  grease.  Our  estimable  friend 
Don  Nicolas  Molero,  a  surgeon  in  high  practice  at  Seville, 
assured  us  that  previou;.;ly  lo  the  French  invasion  he  had  often 
prepared  this  cataleptic  specific,  which  used  to  be  sold  for  its 
weight  in  gold,  until,  having  been  adulterated  by  unprincipled 
empirics,  it  fell  into  disrepute.  The  receipt  of  the  balsam  of 
I'ierabras  has  puzzled  the  modern  commentators  of  Don  Quixote, 
but  the  kindness  of  Don  Nicolas  furnished  us  with  the  ingredients 

CHAP,  xvii.]  THE  PARISH  DOCTOR.  235 

of  this  pommade  divine,  or  rather  mortale.  "  Take  a  man  in 
full  health  who  has  been  just  killed,  the  fresher  the  better,  pare  oif 
the  fat  round  the  heart,  melt  it  over  a  slow  fire,  clarify,  and  put 
it  away  in  a  cool  place  for  use."  The  multitudinous  churcli 
ceremonies  and  holidays  in  Spain,  which  bring  crowds  together, 
combined  with  the  sun,  wine,  and  women,  have  always  ensured  a 
supply  of  fine  subjects. 

In  Spain,  as  elsewhere,  the  doctor  mania  is  an  expensive 
amusement,  which  the  poor  and  more  numerous  class,  especially 
in  rural  localities,  seldom  indulge  in.  Like  their  mules,  they 
are  rarely  ill,  and  they  only  take  to  their  beds  to  die.  They 
have,  it  is  true,  a  parish  doctor,  to  whom  certain  districts 
are  apportioned  ;  when  he  in  his  turn  succumbs  to  death, 
or  is  otherwise  removed,  the  vacancy  is  usually  announced  in 
the  newspapers,  and  a  new  functionary  is  often  advertised  for. 
His  trifling  salary  is  made  up  of  payments  in  money  and  in  kind, 
so  much  in  corn  and  so  much  in  cash ;  the  leading  principle  is 
cheapness,  and,  as  in  our  new  poor-law,  that  proficient  is  pre- 
ferred, who  will  contract  to  do  for  the  greatest  number  at  the 
smallest  charge.  His  constituents  decline  sometimes  to  place 
full  confidence  in  his  skill  or  alacrity :  they  oftener  do  consult 
the  barber,  the  quack,  or  curandero ;  for  there  is  generally  in 
orthodox  Spain  some  charlatan  wherever  sword,  rosary,  pen,  or 
lancet  is  to  be  wielded.  The  nostrums,  charms,  relics,  incan- 
tations, &c.,  to  which  recourse  is  had,  when  not  mediaeval,  are 
scarcely  Christian  ;  but  the  spiritual  pharmacopoeia  of  this  land  of 
Figaro  is  far  too  important  to  form  the  tail-piece  of  any  chapter. 

230  SPIRITUAL  REMEDIES  FOR  THE  BODY.  [chap.  xvm. 


Spanish  Spiritual  Remedies  for  the  Body — Miraculous  Relics — Sanative 
Oils — Philosophy  of  Relic  Remedies — Midwifery  and  the  Cinta  of  Tor- 
tosa — Bull  of  Crusade. 

TiTE  Reverend  Dr.  Fernando  Castillo,  an  esteemed  Spanish 
author  and  teacher,  remarks,  in  his  luminous  Life  of  St.  Dome- 
nick,  that  Spain  has  been  so  bountifully  provided  by  heaven  with 
fine  climate,  soil,  and  extra  number  of  saints,  that  his  countrymen 
are  prone  to  be  idle  and  to  neglect  such  rare  advantages.  Cer- 
tainly tliey  may  not  dig  and  delve  so  deeply  as  is  done  in  lands 
less  favoured,  but  the  reproach  of  omitting  to  call  on  Hercules 
to  do  their  work,  or  of  not  making  the  most  of  Santiago  in  any 
bodily  dilemma,  is  a  somewhat  too  severe  reproach :  nowhere 
in  case  of  sickness  have  the  saving  virtues  of  relics,  and  the 
adjurations  of  holy  monks,  been  more  implicitly  relied  on. 

As  our  learned  readers  well  know,  the  medical  practice  of  the 
ancients  was,  as  that  of  the  Orientals  still  is,  more  peculiar  than 
scientific.  When  disease  was  thought  to  be  a  divine  punishment 
for  sin,  it  was  held  to  be  wicked  to  resist  by  calling  in  human 
aid  :  thus  Asa  was  blamed,  and  thus  Moslems  and  Spaniards 
resign  themselves  to  their  fate,  distrusting,  and  very  properly, 
their  medical  men  :  "  Am  I  a  god,  to  kill  or  make  alive?"  In 
the  large  towns,  in  these  days  of  progress,  some  patients  may 
"  suffer  a  recovery"  according  to  European  practice;  but  in  the 
country  and  remote  villages, — and  we  speak  from  repeated  per- 
sonal experience, — the  good  old  reliance  on  relics  and  charms  is 
far  from  exploded ;  and  however  Dr.  Sangrado  and  Philip  III., 
whose  decrees  on  medical  matters  yet  adorn  the  Spanish  statutes 
at  large,  deplore  the  introduction  of  perplexing  chemistry, 
mineral  therapeuticals  still  remain  a  considerable  dead  letter,  as 
the  church  has  transferred  the  efficacy  of  faith  from  spiritual  to 
temporal  concerns,  and  gun-shot  wounds.  Even  Ponz,  the  Lysons 


of  Spain,  and  before  the  Inquisition  was  abolished,  ventured  to 
express  surprise  at  the  number  of  images  ascribed  to  St.  Luke, 
who,  says  he,  was  not  a  sculptor,  but  a  physician,  whence  possibly 
their  sanative  influence.  The  old  Iberians  were  great  herbalist 
doctors  ;  thus  those  who  had  a  certain  plant  in  their  houses,  were 
protected,  as  a  blessed  palm  branch  now  wards  off  lightning. 
They  had  also  a  drink  made  of  a  hundred  herbs,  and  hence  called 
centum  herb<B,  a  hebida  de  cien  herhas,  which,  like  Morison's 
vegetable  pills,  cured  every  possible  disease,  and  was  so  palatable 
that  it  was  drunk  at  banquets,  which  modern  physic  is  not; 
moreover,  according  to  Pliny,  they  cured  the  gout  with  flour, 
and  relieved  elongated  uvulas  by  hanging  purslain  round  the 
patient's  throat.  So  now  the  citrus  y  curanderos,  country  curates 
and  quacks,  furnish  charms  and  incantations,  just  as  Ulysses 
stopped  liis  bleeding  by  cantation  :  a  medal  of  Santiago  cures  the 
ague,  a  handkerchief  of  the  Virgin  the  ophthalmia,  a  bone  of 
San  Magin  answers  all  the  purposes  of  mercury,  a  scrap  of  San 
Frutos  supplied  at  Segovia  the  loss  of  common  sense  ;  tlie  Virgin 
of  Oiia  destroyed  worms  in  royal  Infantes,  and  her  sash  at  Tor- 
tosa  delivers  royal  Infantas.  Every  Murcian  peasant  believes 
that  no  disease  can  affect  him  or  his  cattle,  if  he  touches  them 
\vith  the  cross  of  Caravaca,  which  angels  brought  from  heaven 
and  placed  on  a  red  cow.  When  we  were  last  at  Manresa,  the 
worthy  man  who  showed  the  cave  in  which  Loyola  the  founder 
of  the  Jesuits  did  penance  for  a  year,  increased  an  honest  liveli- 
hood by  the  sale  of  its  pulverized  stones,  that  were  swallowed  by 
tlie  faithful  in  cases  in  which  an  English  doctor  would  prescribe 
Dover's  or  James's  powders.  Every  province,  not  to  say  parish, 
has  its  own  tutelar  saint  and  relic,  which  are  much  honoured  and 
resorted  to  in  their  local  jurisdiction,  and  very  little  thought  of 
out  of  it,  their  power  to  cure  having  been  apparently  granted  to 
them  by  Santiago,  as  a  commission  to  commit  is  by  Queen 
Victoria  to  a  magistrate,  whose  authority  does  not  extend  beyond 
the  county  bounds.  Zaragoza  was  admirably  provided  :  a  portion 
of  the  liver  of  Santa  Engracia  was  anciently  resorted  to,  in  cases 
where  blue  pill  would  be  beneficial ;  the  oil  of  her  lamjis,  which 
never  smoked  the  ceilings,  cured  lamparoties,  or  tumours  in  the 
neck,  while  that  which  burnt  before  the  Virgcn  del  Pilar,  or 
the  image  of  the  Virgin  which  came  down  from  heaven  on  a  pillar. 

238  COSTUME  OF  CONVALESCENTS.        [chap,  xviii. 

restored  lost  legs ;  Cardinal  de  Retz  mentions  in  his  Memoirs 
having  seen  a  man  whose  wooden  substitutes  became  needless 
when  the  originals  grew  again  on  being  rubbed  with  it ;  and  this 
portent  was  long  celebrated  by  the  Dean  and  Chapter,  as  well  it 
deserved,  by  an  especial  lioliday,  for  Macassar  oil  cannot  do 
much  more.  This  graven  image  is  at  this  moment  the  object 
of  popular  adoration,  and  disputes  even  with  the  worship  of 
tobacco  and  money :  countless  are  the  mendicants,  the  halt, 
blind,  and  the  lame,  who  cluster  around  her  shrine,  as  the  equally 
afflicted  ancients,  with  whom  physicians  were  in  vain,  did  around 
that  of  Minerva ;  and  it  must  be  confessed  that  the  cures  worked 
are  almost  incredible. 

It  may  be  said  that  all  this  is  a  raking  up  of  remnants  of 
mediseval  superstition  and  darkness,  and  it  is  probable  that  the 
medical  men  in  Madrid  and  the  larger  towns,  and  especially 
those  who  have  studied  at  Paris,  do  not  place  implicit  confidence 
in  these  spiritual,  nor  indeed  in  any  other  purely  Spanish  reme- 
dies ;  but  their  tried  medicinal  properties  are  set  forth  at  length 
in  scores  of  Spanish  county  and  other  histories  which  we  have 
the  felicity  to  possess,  all  of  which  have  pa.ssed  the  scrutinizing 
ordeal  of  clerical  censors,  and  have  been  approved  of  as  con- 
taining nothing  contrary  to  the  creed  of  the  Church  of  Rome  or 
good  customs  ;  nor  can  it  be  permitted  that  a  church  which 
professes  to  be  always  one,  the  same,  and  the  only  true  one,  should 
at  its  own  convenience  "  turn  its  back  on  itself, "  and  deny  its 
own  drugs  and  doctrines.  Nothing  is  set  down  here  which  was 
not  perfectly  notorious  under  the  reign  of  Ferdinand  VII. ;  and 
whatever  the  doctors  of  physic  or  theology  may  now  disbelieve 
in  Spain,  more  reliance  is  still  placed,  in  the  rural  districts, 
where  foreign  civilization  has  not  penetrated,  on  miracles  than 
on  medicines. 

We  have  often  and  often  seen  little  children  in  the  streets 
dressed  like  Franciscan  monks — Cupids  in  cowls — whose  pious 
parents  had  vowed  to  clothe  them  in  the  robes  of  this  order, 
provided  its  sainted  founder  preserved  their  darlings  during 
measles  or  dentition.  Nothing  was  more  common  than  that 
women,  nay,  ladies  in  good  society,  should  appear  for  a  year  in 
a  particular  religious  dress,  called  el  hahito,  or  with  some  reli- 
gious badge  on  their  sleeves  in   token  of  similar  deliverance. 

CHAP.  xviu.J  CURE  OF  SOULS.  239 

One  instance  in  our  lime  amused  all  the  tertulias  of  Seville,  who 
maliciously  attributed  the  sudden  relief  which  a  fair  high-born  un- 
married invalid  experienced  from  an  apparent  dropsical  complaint 
to  causes  not  altogether  supernatural ;  Piies,  Don  Ricardo,  "  and 
so,  Master  Richard,"  would  her  friends  of  the  same  age  and  rank 
often  say,  "  you  are  a  stranger  ;  go  and  ask  dearest  Esperanza 
why  she  wears  the  Virgin  of  Carmel  ;  come  back  and  let  us 
know  her  story,  and  we  will  tell  you  the  real  truth."  Vaya ! 
vaya  !  Don  Ricardo,  tistcd  es  muy  majadero, — "  Go  to,  Master 
Richard,  your  Grace  is  an  immense  bore,"  replied  the  penitent, 
if  she  suspected  the  authors  and  motive  of  the  embassy. 

The  pious  in  antiquity  raised  temples  to  Minerva  medica  or 
Esculapius,  as  Spaniards  do  altars  to  JSa.  Sehora  de  los  Reme- 
dios,  our  Lady  of  the  Remedies,  and  to  San  Roque,  whose  inter- 
vention renders  "  sound  as  a  roach,"  a  proverb  devised  in  his 
honour  by  our  ancestors,  who,  before  the  Reformation,  trusted 
likewise  to  him  ;  and  both  thought,  if  Cicero  is  to  be  credited, 
that  these  tutelars  did  at  least  as  much  as  the  doctor.  Alas !  for 
the  patient  credulity  of  mankind,  which  still  gulps  down  such 
medicinal  quackery  as  all  tliis,  and  which  long  will  continue  to 
do  so  even  were  one  of  the  dead  to  rise  from  tlie  grave,  to 
deprecate  the  absurd  treatment  by  which  he  and  so  many  have 
been  sacrificed. 

However,  by  way  of  compensation,  the  saving  the  soul  has 
been  made  just  as  primary  a  consideration  in  Spain  as  the  curing 
the  body  lias  been  in  England.  These  relics,  charms,  and 
amulets  represent  our  patent  medicines  ;  and  the  wonder  is  how 
any  one  in  Great  Britain  can  be  condemned  to  death  in  this 
world,  or  how  any  one  in  the  Peninsula  can  be  doomed  to  per- 
dition in  the  next :  possibly  the  panaceas  are  in  neither  case 
quite  specific.  Be  that  as  it  may,  how  numerous  and  well- 
appointed  are  the  churclies  and  convents  there,  compared  to  the 
hospitals ;  how  amply  provided  the  relic-magazine  witli  bones  and 
spells,  when  compared  to  the  anatomical  museums  and  chemists' 
shops  ;  again,  what  a  flock  of  holy  practitioners  come  forth  after 
a  Spaniard  has  been  stabbed,  starved,  or  executed,  not  one  of 
wTiom  would  have  stirred  a  step  to  save  an  army  of  his  country- 
men when  alive ;  and  what  coppers  are  now  collected  to  pay 
masses  to  get  his  soul  out  of  purgatory  ! 

240  PHILOSOPHY  OF  RELICS.  [chap,  xviii. 

Beware,  nevertheless,  gentle  Protestant  reader,  of  dying  iu 
Spain,  except  in  Cadiz  or  Malaga,  where,  if  you  are  curious  in 
Christian  burial,  there  is  snug  lying  for  heretics  ;  and  for  your 
life  avoid  being  even  sick  at  Madrid,  since  if  once  handed  over 
to  the  faculty  make  thy  last  testament  forthwith,  as,  if  the  judg- 
ment passed  on  their  own  doctors  by  Spaniards  be  true,  Escu- 
lapius  cannot  save  thee  from  the  crows :  avoid  the  Spanish 
doctors  therefore  like  mad  dogs,  and  throw  their  physic  after  them. 

The  masses  and  many  in  Spain  have  their  own  tutelars  and 
refuges  for  the  destitute ;  the  kings  and  queens — whom  God 
preserve  ! — have  their  own  especial  patroness  by  prerogative,  in 
the  image  of  the  Virgin  of  Atocha  at  Madrid,  which  they  and 
the  rest  of  the  royal  family  visit  every  Sunday  in  the  year  when 
in  royal  health.  No  sooner  was  the  sovereign  taken  dangerously 
ill,  and  the  court  physicians  at  a  loss  what  to  do,  as  sometimes 
is  the  case  even  in  Madrid,  than  the  image  used  to  be  brought 
to  his  bedside  ;  witness  the  case  of  Philip  III.,  thus  described  by 
Bassompierre  in  his  dispatch  : — "  Les  medecins  en  desesperent 
depuis  ce  matin  que  Ton  a  commence  a  user  des  remedes  spiri' 
fuels,  et  faire  transporter  au  palais  Vimage  de  N.  D.  de  Athoche." 
The  patient  died  three  days  after  the  image  was  sent  for. 

Although  neither  priest  nor  physician  might  credit  the  sana- 
tive properties  of  rags  and  relics,  they  gladly  called  them  in,  for 
if  the  case  then  went  wrong,  how  could  mortal  man  be  expected 
to  succeed  when  the  supernatural  remedy  had  failed  ?  All  in- 
quests in  awkward  cases  are  hushed  up  by  ascribing  the  death  to 
the  visitation  of  God.  Again,  if  a  relic  does  not  always  cure  it 
rarely  kills,  as  calomel  has  been  known  to  do.  This  interruptive 
principle,  one  distinct  from  human  remedies,  is  admitted  by  the 
church  in  the  prayers  for  sick  persons  ;  and  where  faith  is  sincere, 
even  relics  must  offer  a  powerful  moral  medical  cordial,  by 
acting  on  the  imagination,  and  giving  confidence  to  the  patient. 
This  chance  is  denied  to  the  poor  Protestant,  nay,  even  to  a 
newly-converted  tractarian,  for  truly,  to  believe  in  the  efficacy  of 
a  monkish  bone,  the  lesson  must  liave  been  learnt  in  the  nursery. 
Their  substitute  in  Lutheran  lands,  in  partibus  infidelium, 
is  found  in  laudanum,  news,  and  gossip;  the  latter  being  the 
grand  specific  by  wliich  Sir  Henry  kept  scores  of  dowagers  alive, 
to  the  despair  of  jointure-paying  sons,  from  marquises  down  to 


baronets  ;  and  how  much  real  comfort  is  conveyed  by  the  gentle 
whisper,  "  Your  ladyship  cannot  conceive  what  an  interest  his 
or  her  Royal  Highness  the takes  in  your  ladyship's  con- 
valescence !"  The  foryn  of  the  moral  restorative  will  vary 
according  to  climate,  creeds,  manners,  &c. ;  it  is  to  the  substance 
alone  that  tlie  philosophical  physician  will  look.  That  chord 
must  be  touched,  be  it  what  it  may,  to  whicli  the  pulse  of  the 
patient  will  respond  ;  nor,  provided  he  is  recovered,  do  the  means 
much  signify. 

One  word  only  on  Spanish  midwifery.  There  is  a  dislike  to 
male  accoucheurs,  and  the  midwife,  or  comadre,  generally  brings 
the  Spaniard  into  the  world  by  the  efforts  of  nature  and  the  aid  of 
manteca  de ptierco,  or  hogs'  lard,  a  launching  appropriate  enough 
to  a  babe,  who,  if  it  survives  to  years  of  discretion,  will  assuredly 
love  bacon.  Tlie  newly-born  is  then  wrapped  up,  like  an  Egyp- 
tian mummy,  and  is  carefully  protected  from  fresh  air,  soap,  and 
water ;  an  amulet  is  then  hung  round  its  neck  to  disarm  the  evil 
eye,  or  some  badge  of  the  Virgin  is  to  ensure  good  luck .:  thus 
the  young  idea  is  taught  from  the  cradle,  what  errors  are  to  be 
avoided  and  what  safeguards  are  to  be  clung  to,  lessons  which 
are  seldom  forgotten  in  after-life.  Without  entering  further 
into  baby  details,  the  scanty  population  of  the  Peninstda  may  in 
some  measure  be  thus  accounted  for.  Parturition  also  is  fre- 
quently fatal ;  in  ordinary  cases  the  midwife  does  very  well,  but 
when  a  difficulty  arises  she  loses  her  head  and  patient.  It  is  in 
these  trying  moments,  as  in  the  critical  operations  of  the  kitchen, 
that  a  male  artiste  is  preferable. 

The  Queens  and  Infantas  of  Spain  have  additional  advantages. 
The  palladium  of  the  city  of  Tortosa  is  the  cinta  *  or  girdle, 
which  the  Virgin,  accompanied  by  St.  Peter  and  St.  Paul, 
brought  herself  from  heaven  to  a  priest  of  the  cathedral  in 
1178;  an  event  in  honour  of  whicli  a  mass  is  still  said  every 
second  Sunday  in  October.  The  gracious  gift  was  declared 
authentic  in  1617,  by  Paul  V.,  and  to  justify  his  infallibility  it 
works  every  sort  of  miracle,  especially  in  obstetric  cases ;  it  is 
also  broiight  out  to  defend  the  town  on  all  occasions  of  public 
calamity,   but   failed   in   the    case   of  Suchet's    attack.      This 

*  Ilallarse  en  Cinta  is  the  Spanish  equivalent  for  our  "being  in  the 
family  way." 

242  SPIRITUAL  AIDS  TO  ACCOUCHEMENT,  [chap,  xviii. 

girdle,  more  wonderful  than  the  cestus  of  Venus,  was  conveyed 
in  1822,  by  Ferdinand  VIT.'s  command,  in  solemn  procession  to 
Aranjuez,  in  order  to  facilitate  the  accouchement  of  the  two 
Infantas,  and  as  Lucina  wlien  duly  invoked  favoured  women  in 
travail,  so  their  Royal  Highnesses  were  happily  delivered,  and 
one  of  the  babes  then  born,  is  the  husband  of  Isabel  II.  For 
humbler  Castilian  women,  when  pregnant,  a  spiritual  remedy 
\\as  provided  by  the  canons  of  Toledo,  who  took  the  liveliest 
interest  in  many  of  the  cases.  The  grand  entrance  to  the 
cathedral  had  thirteen  steps,  and  all  females  who  ascended  and 
descended  them  ensured  an  early  and  easy  time  of  it.  No 
wonder  therefore,  when  these  steps  were  reduced  to  the  number 
of  seven,  that  the  greatest  possible  opposition  should  have  been 
made  by  tlie  fair  sex,  married  and  unmarried.  All  these  things 
of  Spain  are  rather  Oriental ;  and  to  this  day  the  Barbary  Moors 
liave  a  cannon  at  Tangiers  by  which  a  Christian  ship  was  sunk, 
and  across  this  their  women  sit  to  obtain  an  easy  delivery.  In 
all  ages  and  countries  where  the  science  of  midwifery  has  made 
small  progress,  it  is  natural  that  some  spiritual  assistance  should 
be  contrived  for  perils  of  such  inevitable  recurrence  as  childbirth. 
The  panacea  in  Italy  was  the  girdle  of  St.  Margaret,  which 
became  the  type  of  this  Cinta  of  Tortosa,  and  it  was  resorted  to 
by  the  monks  in  all  cases  of  diiUcult  parturition.  It  was  sup- 
posed to  benefit  the  sex,  because  when  the  devil  wished  to  eat 
up  St.  Margaret,  the  Virgin  bound  him  with  her  sash,  and  he 
became  tame  as  a  lamb.  This  sash  brought  forth  sashes  also, 
and  in  the  17th  century  had  multiplied  so  exceedingly,  that  a 
traveller  affirmed  "if  all  were  joined  together,  they  would  reach 
all  down  Cheapside  ;"  but  the  natural  history  of  relics  is  too 
well  known  to  be  enlarged  upon. 

Any  account  of  Spanish  doctors  without  a  death,  would  be 
dull  as  a  blank  day  with  fox-hounds,  although  the  medical  man, 
diffeiing  from  the  sportsman,  dislikes  being  in  at  it.  He,  the 
moment  the  fatal  sisters  three  are  running  into  their  game,  slips 
out,  and  leaves  the  last  act  to  the  clergyman :  hence  the  Spanish 
saying,  "  When  the  priest  begins,  the  physician  ends."  It  is 
related  in  the  history  of  Don  Quixote,  that  no  sooner  did  the 
barber  feel  the  poor  knight's  wrist,  than  he  advised  him  to  attend 
to  his  soul  and  send  for  his  confessor ;  and  now,  when  a  Castilian 
hidalgo  takes  to  his  bed,  his  friends  pursue  much  the  same  course, 


nor  does  the  catastrophe  often  differ.  Lord  Bacon,  great  in  wise 
saws  and  instances,  prayed  that  his  death  might  come  from  Spain, 
because  then  it  would  be  long  on  the  journey ;  but  he  was  not 
aware  that  the  gentlemen  in  black  formed  an  exception  to  tlie 
proverbial  procrastination  and  dilatoriness  of  their  fellow  country- 
men. As  patients  are  soon  dispatched,  the  law  *  of  the  land  sub- 
jects every  physician  to  a  fine  of  ten  thousand  maravedis,  who  fails 
after  his  first  visit  to  prescribe  confession  ;  the  chief  object  in 
sickness  being,  as  the  preamble  states,  to  cure  the  soul ;  and  so 
it  is  in  Italy,  where  Gregory  XVI.  issued  in  1845  three  decrees; 
one  to  forbid  railroads,  another  to  prohibit  scientific  meetings, 
and  a  third  to  order  all  medical  men  to  cease  to  attend  invalids 
who  had  not  sent  for  the  priest  and  communicated  after  the  third 
visit.  In  Spain,  the  first  question  asked  in  our  time  of  the  sick 
man  was,  not  whether  he  truly  repented  of  his  sins,  but  whether 
he  had  got  the  Bull ;  and  if  the  reply  was  in  the  negative,  or  his 
old  nurse  had  omitted  to  send  out  and  buy  one,  the  last  sacra- 
ments were  denied  to  the  dying  wretcL. 

One  word  on  this  wonderful  Bull,  that  disarms  death  of  its 
sting,  and  which,  although  few  of  our  readers  may  ever  have 
heard  of  it,  plays  a  far  more  important  part  in  the  Peninsula  than 
the  quadruped  does  in  the  arena.  Fastings  are  nowhere  more 
strictly  enjoined  than  here,  where  Lent  represents  the  Ramadan  of 
the  Moslem.  The  denials  have  been  mitigated  to  those  faithful  who 
have  good  appetites,  by  the  paternal  indulgence  of  their  holy  father 
at  Rome,  who,  in  consideration  that  it  was  necessary  to  keep  the 
Spanish  crusaders  in  fighting  condition  in  order  more  effectually 
to  crush  the  infidel,  conceded  to  Saint  Ferdinand  the  permission 
that  his  army  might  eat  meat  rations  during  Lent,  provided  there 
were  any,  for,  to  the  credit  of  Spanish  commissariats  in  general, 
few  troops  fast  more  regularly  and  religiously.  The  auspicious 
day  on  which  the  arrival  is  proclaimed  of  this  welcome  bull  tliat 
announces  dinner,  is  celebrated  by  bells  merry  as  at  a  marriage 
feast ;  in  the  provincial  cities  mayors  and  corporations  go  to 
cathedral  in  what  is  called  state,  to  the  wonder  of  the  mob  and 
amusement  of  their  betters  at  the  resurrection  of  quiz  coaches, 
the  robes,  maces,  and  obsolete  trappings,  by  whicli  these  shadows 
of  a  former  power  and  dignity  hope  to  mark  individual  and  col- 
*  K<.'Copilacion,     Lib.  iii.    Tit.  xvi.    Ley  3. 

244  NECESSITY  OF  THE  BULL.  [chap,  xviii. 

lective  insignificancy.  A  copy  of  this  precious  Bull  cannot  of 
course  be  had  for  nothing,  and  as  it  must  be  paid  for,  and  in 
ready  money,  it  forms  one  of  the  certain  branches  of  public  in- 
come. Although  the  proceeds  ought  to  be  expended  on  cru- 
sading purposes,  Ferdinand  VII.,  the  Catholic  King,  and  the 
only  sovereign  in  possession  of  such  a  revenue,  never  contributed 
one  mite  towards  the  Christian  Greeks  in  their  recent  struorofle 
against  the  Turkish  unbelievers. 

These  bulls,  or  rather  paper-money  notes,  are  prepared  with 
the  greatest  precautions,  and  constituted  one  of  the  most  profitable 
articles  of  Spanish  manufacture ;  a  maritime  war  with  England 
was  dreaded,  not  so  much  from  regard  to  the  fasting  transatlantic 
souls,  as  from  the  fear  of  losing,  as  Dr.  Robertson  has  shown, 
the  sundry  millions  of  dollars  and  silver  dross  remitted  from 
America  in  exchange  for  these  spiritual  treasures.  Tiiey  were 
printed  at  Seville,  at  the  Dominican  convent,  the  Porta  coeli ; 
but  Soult,  who  now  it  appears  is  turning  devotee,  burnt  down 
this  gate  of  heaven,  with  its  passports,  and  tlie  presses.  The  bulls 
are  only  good  for  the  year  during  which  they  are  issued  ;  after 
twelve  months  they  become  stale  and  unprofitable.  There  is 
then,  says  Blanco  White,  and  truly,  for  we  have  often  seen  it, 
"  a  prodigious  hurry  to  obtain  new  ones  by  all  those  w  ho  wish 
well  to  their  souls,  and  do  not  overlook  the  ease  and  comfort  of 
their  stomachs."  A  fresh  one  must  be  annually  taken  out,  like  a 
game-certificate,  before  Spaniards  venture  to  sport  with  flesh  or 
fowl,  and  they  have  reason  to  be  thankful  that  it  does  not  cost 
three  pounds  odd  :  for  the  sum  of  dos  reales,  or  less  than  sixpence, 
man,  woman,  and  child  may  obtain  the  benefit  of  clergy  and 
cookery ;  but  evil  betides  the  uncertificated  poacher,  treadmills 
for  life  are  a  farce,  perdition  catches  his  soul.  His  certificate  is 
demanded  by  the  keeper  of  conscience  when  he  is  caught  in  the 
trap  of  sickness,  and  if  without  one,  his  conviction  is  certain;  he 
cannot  plead  ignorance  of  the  law,  for  a  postscript  and  condition  is 
aflBxed  to  all  notices  of  jubilees,  indulgences,  and  other  purgatorial 
benefits,  which  are  fixed  on  the  church  doors ;  and  the  lans-uasfe 
is  as  courteous  and  peremptory  as  in  our  popular  assessed  tax- 
paper—"  Se  ha  de  tener  la  bula  :"  you  must  have  the  bull ;  if  you 
expect  to  derive  any  relief  from  tliese  relaxations  in  purgatory, 
wiiich  all  Spaniards  most  particularly  do :  hence  tlie  common 

CHAP,  xviii.]  DEATH-BED  IN  SPAIN.  245 

phrase  used  by  any  one,  when  committing  some  little  peccadillo 
in  other  matters,  tengo  mi  hula  para  todo — I  have  got  my  bull, 
my  licence  to  do  any  thing.  Tlie  possession  of  this  document  acts  on 
all  fleshly  comforts  like  soda  on  indigestion,  indeed  it  neutralizes 
everything  except  heresy.  As  it  is  cheap,  a  Protestant  resident, 
albeit  he  may  not  quite  believe  in  its  saving  effects,  will  do  well 
to  purchase  one  for  the  sake  of  the  peace  of  mind  of  his  weaker 
brethren,  for  in  this  religion  of  forms  and  outer  observances,  more 
horror  is  felt  by  rigid  Spaniards,  at  seeing  an  Englishman  eating 
meat  during  a  fast,  than  if  he  had  broken  all  the  ten  command- 
ments. The  sums  levied  from  the  nation  for  these  bulls  is  very 
large,  although  they  are  diminished  before  finally  paid  into  the 
exchequer  ;  some  of  the  honey  gathered  by  so  many  bees  will 
stick  to  their  wings,  and  the  place  of  chief  commissioner  of  the 
Bula  is  a  better  thing  than  that  in  the  Excise  or  Customs  of 
unbelieving  countries. 

To  return  to  the  dying  man  :  if  he  has  the  bull,  the  host  is 
brought  to  him  with  great  pomp ;  the  procession  is  attended  by 
crowds  who  bear  crosses,  lighted  candles,  bells  and  incense  ;  and 
as  the  chamber  is  thrown  open  to  the  public,  the  ceremony  is  ac- 
companied by  multitudes  of  idlers.  The  spectacle  is  always  impo- 
sing, as  it  must  be,  considering  that  the  incarnate  Deity  is  believed 
to  be  present.  It  is  particularly  striking  on  Easter  Sunday,  when 
the  host  is  taken  to  all  the  sick  who  have  been  unable  to  commu- 
nicate in  the  parish  church.  Then  the  priest  walks  either  under 
a  gorgeous  canopy,  or  is  mounted  in  the  finest  carriage  in  the 
town  ;  and  while  all  as  he  passes  kneel  to  the  wafer  which  he 
bears,  he  chuckles  internally  at  his  own  reality  of  power  over 
his  prostrate  subjects ;  the  line  of  streets  are  gaily  decorated  as 
for  the  triumphal  procession  of  a  king:  tlie  windows  are  hung 
with  velvets  and  tapestries,  and  the  balconies  filled  with  the  fair 
sex  arrayed  in  their  best,  who  shower  sweet  flowers  down  on  the 
procession  just  at  the  moment  of  its  passage,  and  sweeter  smiles 
during  all  tlie  rest  of  the  morning  on  their  lovers  below,  whose 
more  than  divided  adoration  is  engrossed  by  female  divinities. 

To  difc  without  confession  and  communication  is  to  a  Spaniard 
the  most  poignant  of  calamities,  as  he  cannot  be  saved  while  he  is 
taught  that  there  is  in  these  acts  a  preserving  virtue  of  their  own, 
independent  of  any  exertions  on  his  part.   The  host  is  given  when 


246  BURIAL  DRESSES.  [chap.  xvm. 

human  hopes  are  at  an  end,  and  the  heat,  noise,  confusion,  and  ex- 
citement, seldom  fail  to  kill  the  already  exhausted  patient.  Then, 
wlien  life's  idle  business  at  a  gasp  is  o'er,  the  body  is  laid  out  in  a 
capilla  ardie7ite,  or  an  apartment  prepared  as  a  chapel,  by  taking 
out  the  furniture  ;  where  the  family  is  rich,  a  room  on  the  ground 
floor  is  selected,  in  which  a  regular  altar  is  dressed  up,  and  rows  of 
large  candles  lighted  placed  around  the  body  ;  the  public  is  then 
allowed  to  enter,  even  in  the  case  of  the  sovereign  :  thus  we  be- 
held Ferdinand  VII.  laid  out  dead  and  full  dressed  with  his  hat 
on  his  head,  and  his  stick  in  his  hand.  This  public  exhibition  is 
a  sort  of  coroner's  inquest  ;  formerly,  as  we  have  often  seen,  the 
body  was  clad  in  a  monk's  dress,  with  the  feet  naked  and  the 
hands  clasped  over  the  breast ;  the  sepulchral  shadow  then 
thrown  over  the  dead  and  placid  features  by  the  cowl,  seldom 
failed  to  raise  a  solemn  undefinable  feeling  in  the  hearts  of  spec- 
tators, speaking,  as  it  did,  a  language  to  the  living  wliich  could 
not  be  misunderstood. 

The  woollen  dresses  of  the  mendicant  orders  were  by  far  the 
most  popular,  from  the  idea  that,  when  old,  they  had  become  too 
saturated  with  the  odour  of  sanctity  for  the  vile  nostrils  of  the 
evil  one ;  and  as  a  tattered  dress  often  brought  more  than  half-a- 
dozen  new  ones,  the  sale  of  these  old  clothes  was  a  benefit  alike 
to  the  pious  vendor  and  purchaser ;  those  of  St.  Francis  were 
preferred,  because  at  his  triennial  visits  to  purgatory,  he  knows 
his  own,  and  takes  them  back  with  him  to  heaven  ;  hence  Milton 
peopled  his  shadowy  limbo  with  wolves  in  sheep's  clothing : — 

"  who,  to  be  sure  of  Paradise, 

Dying  put  on  the  robes  of  Dominick, 
Or  in  Franciscan  think  to  pass  unseen." 

Women  in  our  time  were  often  laid  out  in  nuns'  dresses,  wear- 
ing also  the  scapulary  of  the  Virgin  of  Carmel,  which  she  gave  to 
Simon  Stock,  with  the  assurance  that  none  who  died  with  it  on, 
should  ever  suffer  eternal  torments.  The  general  adoption  of 
these  grave  fashions  induced  an  accurate  foreigner  to  remark,  that 
no  one  ever  died  in  Spain  except  nuns  and  monks.  In  this  hot 
country,  burial  goes  hand  in  hand  with  death,  and  it  is  absolutely 
necessary  from  the  rapidity  with  which  putrefaction  comes  on. 
The  last  offices  are  performed  in  somewhat  an  indecent  manner  : 
formerly  the  interment  took  place  in  churches,  or  in  the  yards  near 


tliem,  a  custom  which  from  hygeian  reasons  is  now  prohibited. 
Public  cemeteries,  which  give  at  least  4  per  cent,  interest,  have 
been  erected  outside  the  towns,  in  which  long  lines  of  catacombs 
gape  greedily  for  those  occupants  who  can  pay  for  them,  while 
a  wide  ditch  is  opened  every  day  for  those  who  cannot.  In  this 
campo  sa7ito,  or  holy  field,  death  levels  all  ranks,  which  seems 
hard  on  those  great  families  who  have  built  and  endowed  chapels 
to  secure  a  burial  among  their  ancestors.  They  however  raised 
no  objections  to  the  change  of  law,  nor  have  ever  much  troubled 
themselves  about  the  dilapidated  sepulchres  and  crumbling  effigies 
of  their  "  grandsires  cut  in  alabaster  ;"  the  real  opposition  arose 
from  the  priests,  who  lost  their  fees,  and  thereupon  assured  their 
flocks,  that  a  future  resurrection  was  anything  but  certain  to 
bodies  committed  into  such  new-fangled  depositories. 

Be  that  as  it  may,  the  corpse  in  its  slight  cofiin  is  carried  out, 
followed  by  the  male  relations,  and  is  then  put  into  its  niche 
without  further  form  or  prayer.  Ladies  who  die  soon  after 
marriage,  and  before  the  bridal  hours  have  danced  their  measure, 
are  sometimes  buried  in  tiieir  wedding  dresses,  and  covered  with 
flowers,  the  dying  injunctions  of  Shakspere's  Queen  Catherine  : — 

"  When  I  am  dead,  good  wench, 
Let  me  be  used  with  honour ;  strew  me  o'er 
With  maiden  flowers,  that  all  the  world  may  know 
I  was  a  chaste  wife  to  my  grave." 

At  such  funerals  the  coffin  is  opened  in  the  catacomb,  to  gratify 
the  indecent  curiosity  of  the  crowd  ;  the  dress  is  next  day  dis- 
cussed all  over  the  town,  and  the  entierro  or  funeral  is  pronounced 
to  be  muy  lucido  or  very  brilliant ;  but  life  in  Spain  is  a  jest,  and 
these  things  show  it.  The  place  assigned  for  children  who  die 
under  seven  years  of  age  lies  apart  from  that  of  the  adults  ;  their 
early  death  is  held  in  Spain  to  be  rather  a  matter  of  congratula- 
tion than  of  grief,  since  those  whom  the  gods  love  die  young ; 
their  epitaphs  tell  a  mixed  tale  of  joy  and  sorrow.  El  parvulo 
fue  arrehatado  a  la  gloria,  the  little  one  was  snatched  up  into 
Paradise : — 

"  There  is  beyond  the  sky  a  heaven  of  joy  and  love, 

And  holy  children,  when  they  die,  go  to  that  world  above." 

Yet  nature  will  not  be  put  aside,  and  many  a  mother  have  we 
seen,  loitering  alone  near  the  graves,  adorning  them  with  roses 


248  BURIAL  OF  THE  POOR.  [chap.  xvm. 

and  plucking  up  weeds  which  have  no  business  to  grow  there 
tiie  little  corpses  are  carried  to  the  tomb  by  little  children  of  the 
same  age,  clad  in  white,  and  are  strewed  with  flowers  short-lived 
as  themselves,  sweets  to  the  sweet.  The  parents  return  home 
yearning  after  the  lost  child — its  cradle  is  empty,  its  piteous 
moan  is  heard  no  more,  its  playthings  remain  where  it  left  them, 
and  recall  the  cruel  gap  which  grief  cannot  fill  up,  although  it 

"  Stuffs  out  its  vacant  garments  with  its  form." 

Tiie  bodies  of  the  lower  orders,  dressed  in  their  ordinary  attire, 
are  borne  to  their  long  home  by  four  men,  as  is  described  by 
Martial ;  "  no  useless  coffins  enclose  their  breasts,"  they  are  car- 
ried forth  as  was  the  widow's  son  at  Nain.  And  often  have  we 
seen  the  frightful  death-tray  standing  upright  at  the  doors  of  the 
humble  dead,  with  a  human  outline  marked  on  the  wood  by  the 
death -damp  of  a  hundred  previous  burdens.  Such  bodies  are 
cast  into  the  trench  like  those  of  dogs,  and  often  naked,  as  the 
survivors  or  sextons  strip  them  even  of  their  rags.  Those  poorer 
still,  who  cannot  afford  to  pay  the  trifling  fee,  sometimes  during 
the  night,  suspend  the  bodies  of  their  children  in  baskets,  near 
the  cemetery  porch.  We  once  beheld  a  cloaked  Spaniard  pacing 
mournfully  in  tlie  burial-ground  of  Seville,  who,  when  the  public 
trench  was  opened,  drew  from  beneath  the  folds  the  body  of  his 
dead  child,  cast  it  in  and  disappeared.  Thus  half  the  world  lives 
without  knowing  how  the  other  half  dies. 

In  the  upper  ranks  the  etiquette  of  the  funeral  commences 
after  tlie  reality  is  over.  The  first  necessary  step  is  within  three 
days  to  pay  a  visit  of  condolence  to  the  family  ;  this  is  called 
para  dar  el  pesame.  The  relations  are  all  assembled  in  the  best 
room,  and  seated  on  chairs  placed  at  the  head,  the  women  at  one 
end  and  the  men  at  another.  When  a  condoling  lady  and  gentle- 
man enter,  she  proceeds  to  shake  hands  with  all  the  other  ladies 
one  after  another,  and  then  seats  herself  in  the  next  vacant  chair; 
the  gentleman  bows  to  each  of  the  men  as  he  passes,  who  rise 
and  return  it,  a  grave  dumb-show  of  profound  affliction  being 
kept  up  by  all.  On  reaching  the  chief  mourners,  they  are 
addressed  by  each  condoler  with  this  phrase,  "  Acompcmo  a 
usted  en  su  sentimiento ;"  "  I  share  in  the  affliction  of  your 
grace;"  the  company  meanwhile  remain  silent  as  an  assemblage 

CHAP,  xviii.]  FUNERAL  SERVICE,  249 

of  undertakers.      After  sitting   among   them  the  proper  time, 
each  retires  with  much  the  same  form. 

In  a  few  days  afterwards  a  printed  letter  is  sent  round  in  the 
name  of  all  the  surviving  relations  to  annoimce  the  death  to  the 
friends  of  tlie  family,  and  to  beg  the  favour  of  attendance  at  the 
funeral  service  :  these  invitations  are  all  headed  with  a  cross  (  +  ), 
which  is  called  El  Cristus.  Before  the  invasion  of  the  enemy, 
who  not  only  destroyed  the  walls  of  convents,  but  sapped  religious 
belief  also,  very  many  books  were  printed,  and  private  letters 
written,  with  this  sign  prefixed.  In  our  time  sundry  medical  men 
at  Seville  always  headed  with  it  their  prescriptions,  the  Cardinal 
Archbishop  having  granted  a  certain  number  of  years'  release 
from  purgatory  to  all  who  sanctified  with  this  mark  their  recipes 
even  of  senna  and  rhubarb.  Under  this  cross,  in  the  invitation, 
are  placed  the  letters  R.  I.  P.  A.,  which  signify  "  Requiescat  in 
pace.  Amen,"  At  the  appointed  hour  the  mourners  meet  in  the 
casa  mOTtiiaria,  or  the  house  of  death,  and  proceed  together  to 
church.  All  are  dressed  in  full  black,  and  before  the  progress 
of  paletots  and  civilization,  wore  no  cloaks  :  this,  as  it  rendered 
each  man  of  them  more  uncomfortable  than  St,  Bartholomew 
w  as  without  his  skin,  was  considered  an  oflfering  of  genuine  grief 
to  tlie  manes  of  the  deceased.  Uncloaking  in  Spain  is,  be  it 
remembered,  a  mark  of  respect,  and  is  equivalent  to  our  taking 
off  the  hat.  When  the  company  arrives  at  church,  they  are 
received  by  the  ministers,  and  the  ceremony  is  very  solemnly 
performed  before  a  catafalque  covered  with  a  pall,  which  is 
placed  before  the  altar,  and  is  brilliantly  lighted  up  with  wax 
candles.  As  soon  as  the  service  is  concluded,  all  advance  and 
bow  to  the  chief  mourners,  who  are  seated  apart,  and  thus  the 
tragedy  concludes.  Parents  do  not  put  on  mourning  for  their 
children,  which  is  a  remnant  of  the  patriarchal  and  Roman  supe- 
riority of  the  head  of  the  family,  for  whom,  however,  when  dead, 
all  the  other  members  pay  the  most  observant  respect.  The 
forms  and  number  of  days  of  mourning  are  most  nicely  laid 
down,  and  are  most  rigidly  observed,  even  by  distant  relations, 
who  refrain  from  all  kinds  of  amusements  : — 

"  None  bear  about  the  mockery  of  woe 
To  public  dances  or  to  private  show." 

We  well  remember  the  death  of  a  kind  and  venerable  Marquesa 

250  ALL  SOULS'  DAY.  [chap,  xviii. 

at  Seville  just  before  the  carnival,  whose  chief  grief  at  dying,  was 
the  thought  of  the  number  of  young  ladies  who  would  thus  be  de- 
prived of  their  balls  and  masquerades ;  many,  anxious  and  obliging, 
were  the  inquiries  sent  after  her  health,  and  more  even  were  the 
daily  prayers  offered  up  to  the  Virgin,  for  the  prolongation  of  her 
precious  existence,  could  it  be  only  for  a  few  weeks. 

November  drear,  brings  in  other  solemnities  connected  with 
the  dead,  and  in  harmony  with  the  fall  of  the  sear  and  yellow 
leaves,  to  whicli  Homer  compares  tlie  races  of  mortal  men.  The 
night  before  the  first  of  November — our  All  Hallow-e'en — is 
kept  in  Spain  as  a  vigil  or  wake  ;  it  is  the  fated  hour  of  love 
divinations  and  mysteries;  then  anxious  maidens  used  to  sit  at 
their  balconies  to  see  the  image  of  their  destined  husbands  pass  or 
not  pass  by.  November  the  first  is  dedicated  to  the  sainted  dead, 
and  November  the  second  to  all  souls :  it  is  termed  in  Spanish 
el  dia  de  los  difuntos,  the  day  of  the  dead,  and  is  most  scru- 
pulously observed  by  all  who  have  lost  during  the  past  year 
some  friend,  some  relation— how  few  have  not !  The  dawn 
is  ushered  in  by  mournful  bells,  which  recal  the  memory  of  those 
who  cannot  come  back  at  the  summons ;  the  cemeteries  are 
then  visited  ;  at  Seville,  long  processions  of  sable-clad  females, 
bearing  chased  lamps  on  staves,  walk  slowly  round  and  round, 
chaunting  melancholy  dirges,  returning  when  it  gets  dusk  in 
a  long  line  of  glittering  lights.  The  graves  during  the  day  are 
visited  by  those  who  take  a  sad  interest  in  their  occupants,  and 
lamps  and  flower  garlands  are  suspended  as  memorials  of  affec- 
tio)i,  and  holy  water  is  sprinkled,  every  drop  of  which  puts  out 
some  of  the  fires  of  purgatory.  These  picturesque  proceedings  at 
once  resemble  the  Eed  es  Segheer  of  modern  Cairo,  the  feralia 
of  the  Romans,  the  Nefxema  of  the  Greeks :  here  are  the  flower 
offerings  of  Electra,  the  funes  assensi,  the  funeral  torches  of 
pagan  mimrners,  wiiich  have  vainly  been  prohibited  to  Christian 
Spaniards  by  their  early  Council  of  Illiberis.  In  Navarre,  and 
in  the  north-west  of  Spain,  bread  and  wheat  offerings  called  robos 
are  made,  which  are  the  doles  or  gifts  offered  for  the  souls'  rest 
of  the  deceased  by  the  pious  of  ancient  Rome. 

As  on  this  day  the  cemetery  becomes  the  public  attraction,  it 
too  often  looks  rather  a  joyous  fashionable  promenade,  tiian  a 
sad  and  religious  performance.     The  levity  of  mere  strangers 


and  the  mob,  contrasts  strangely  with  the  sorrow  of  real  mourners. 
But  life  in  this  world  presses  on  death,  and  the  gay  treads 
on  the  heels  of  pathos ;  the  spot  is  crowded  with  mendicants, 
who  appeal  to  the  order  of  the  day,  and  importune  every  tender 
recollection,  by  begging  for  the  sake  of  the  lamented  dead.  Outside 
the  dreary  walls  all  is  vitality  and  mirth  ;  a  noisy  sale  goes  on  of 
cakes,  nuts,  and  sweetmeats,  a  crash  of  horses  and  carriages, 
a  din  and  flow  of  bad  language  from  those  who  look  after  them, 
which  must  vex  the  repose  of  the  beuditas  animas,  or  the  blessed 
souls  in  purgatory,  for  wliom  otherwise  all  classes  of  Spaniards 
manifest  the  fondest  affection  and  interest. 

Such  is  the  manner  in  which  the  body  of  a  most  orthodox 
Catholic  Castilian  is  committed  to  the  earth  ;  his  soul,  if  it  goes 
to  purgatory,  is  considered  and  called  blessed  by  anticipation,  as 
the  admittance  into  Paradise  is  certain,  at  the  expiration  of  the 
term  of  penal  transportation,  that  is,  "  when  the  foul  crimes  done 
in  the  days  of  nature  are  burnt  and  purged  away,"  as  the  ghost  in 
Hamlet  says,  who  had  not  forgotten  his  Virgil.  If  the  scholar 
objects  to  a  Spanish  clergyman,  tliat  the  whole  thing  is  Pagan,  he 
will  be  told  that  he  may  go  farther  and  fare  worse.  In  the  case 
of  a  true  Roman  Catholic,  this  term  of  hard  labour  may  be  much 
§hortened,  since  that  can  be  done  by  masses,  any  number  of 
which  will  be  said,  if  first  paid  for.  The  vicar  of  St.  Peter 
holds  the  keys,  which  always  unlock  the  gate  to  those  who  offer 
the  golden  gift  by  which  Charon  was  bribed  by  iEneas ;  thus,  to 
a  judicious  rich  man,  nothing,  supposing  that  he  believes  the  Pope 
versus  the  Bible,  is  so  easy  as  to  get  at  once  into  Heaven  ;  nor 
are  the  poor  quite  neglected,  as  any  one  may  learn  who  will  read 
the  extraordinary  number  of  days'  redemption  which  may  be 
obtained  at  every  altar  in  Spain  by  the  performance  of  the  most 
trumpery  routine.  The  only  wonder  is  how  any  one  of  the  faithful 
should  ever  fail  to  secure  his  delivery  from  this  spiritual  Botany 
Bay  without  going  there  at  all,  or,  at  least,  only  for  the  form's 
sake.  It  was  calculated  by  an  accurate  and  laborious  German, 
that  an  active  man,  by  spending  three  shillings  in  coach-hire, 
might  obtain  in  an  hour,  by  visiting  different  privileged  altars 
during  tlie  Holy  week,  29,639  years,  nine  months,  thirteen  days, 
tiiree  minutes  and  a  half  diminution  of  purgatorial  punish- 
ment.    This  merciful  reprieve  was  offered  by  Spanish  priests  in 

252  PROTESTANT  BURIAL-GEOUND.        [chap.  xvm. 

South  America,  on  a  grander  style,  on  one  commensurate  with 
that  colossal  continent ;  for  a  single  mass  at  the  San  Francisco  in 
Mexico,  the  Pope  and  prelates  granted  32,310  years,  ten  days, 
and  six  hours  indulgence.  As  a  means  of  raising  money,  says 
our  Mexican  authority,  "  I  would  not  give  this  simple  institution 
of  masses  for  the  benefit  of  souls,  for  the  power  of  taxation  pos- 
sessed by  any  government ;  since  no  tax-gatherer  is  required  ;  the 
payments  are  enforced  by  the  best  feelings,  for  who  would  not 
pay  to  get  a  parent's  or  friend's  soul  from  the  fire  ?"  Purgatory 
has  thus  been  a  Golconda  mine  of  gold  to  his  Holiness,  as  even 
the  poorest  have  a  chance,  since  charitable  persons  can  deliver 
blank  souls  by  taking  out  a  habeas  animam  writ,  that  is,  by  paying 
the  priest  for  a  mass.  The  especial  days  are  marked  in  the  almanac, 
and  known  to  every  waiter  at  the  inn  ;  moreover,  notice  is  put 
on  the  church  door.  Hoy  se  saca  anima,  "  this  day  you  can  get 
out  a  soul."  They  are  generally  left  in  their  warm  quarters  in 
winter,  and  taken  out  in  the  spring. 

Alas  for  poor  Protestants,  who,  by  non-payment  of  St.  Peter's 
pence,  have  added  an  additional  act  of  heresy,  and  the  worst  of  all, 
the  one  which  Rome  never  pardons.  These  defaulters  can  only 
hope  to  be  saved  by  faith,  and  its  fruits,  good  works ;  they  must 
repent,  must  quit  their  long-cherished  sins,  and  lead  a  new  life ; 
for  them  there  is  no  rope  of  St.  Francis  to  pull  them  out,  if  once 
in  the  pit ;  no  rosary  of  St.  Domenick  to  remove  them,  quick, 
presto,  begone,  fi"om  torment  to  happiness.  Outside  the  pale  of 
the  Vatican,  their  souls  have  no  chance,  and  inside  the  frontiers 
of  Spain  their  bodies  have  scarcely  a  better  prospect,  should 
they  die  in  that  orthodox  land.  There  the  greatest  liberal 
barely  tolerates  any  burial  at  all  of  their  black-blooded  heretical 
carcasses,  as  no  corn  will  grow  near  them.  Until  within  a  very 
few  years  at  seaport  towns,  their  bodies  used  to  be  put  in  a  hole 
in  the  sands,  and  beyond  low  water  mark ;  nay,  even  this  con- 
cession to  the  infidel  offended  the  semi-Moro  fishermen,  who  true 
believers  and  persecutors  feared  that  their  soles  might  be  poisoned  : 
not  that  either  sailor  or  priest  ever  exhibited  any  fear  of  taking 
British  current  coin,  all  cash  that  comes  into  their  nets  being 
most  Catholic,  so  says  the  proverb,  El  dinero  es  muy  Catolico. 

Matters  connected  with  the  grave  have  been  placed,  as  regards 
Protestants,  on  a  much  more  pleasant  footing  within  thtee  last 

CHAP.  xvni.J  LUTHERAN  BURIAL.  253 

few  years  ;  and  it  may  be  a  consolation  to  invalids,  who  are 
sent  to  Spain  for  change  of  climate,  and  who  are  particular,  to 
know,  in  case  of  accidents,  that  Protestant  burial-grounds  are  now 
permitted  at  Cadiz,  Malaga,  and  in  a  few  other  places.  The 
history  of  the  permission  is  curious,  and  has  never,  to  the  best  of 
our  belief,  been  told.  In  the  days  of  Philip  II.  Lutherans 
were  counted  in  many  degrees  worse  than  dogs;  when  caught 
alive,  they  were  burnt  by  the  holy  tribunal ;  and  when  dead,  were 
cast  out  on  the  dunghill.  Even  when  our  poltroon  James  I. 
sent,  in  1622,  his  ill-judged  olive-bearing  mission,  by  which 
Spain  was  saved  from  utter  humiliation,  Mr.  Hole,  the  secretary 
of  the  ambassador,  Lord  Digby,  having  died  at  Santander,  the 
body  was  not  allowed  to  be  buried  at  all ;  it  was  put  into  a  shell, 
and  sunk  in  the  sea  ;  but  no  sooner  was  his  lordship  gone,  than 
"  the  fishermen,"  we  quote  from  Soniers'  tracts,  "  fearing  that 
they  should  catch  no  fish  as  long  as  the  coffin  of  a  heretic  lay  in 
their  waters,"  fished  it  up,  "and  the  corpse  of  our  countryman 
and  brother  was  thrown  above  ground,  to  be  devoured  by  the 
fowls  of  the  air."  In  the  treaty  of  1630,  the  31st  Article  pro- 
vided for  the  disposal  of  the  goods  of  those  Englishmen  who 
might  die  in  Spain,  but  not  for  their  bodies.  "  These,"  says  a 
commentator  of  Rymer,  '^  must  be  left  stinking  above  ground, 
to  the  end  that  the  dogs  may  be  sure  to  find  them."  When  Mr. 
Washington,  page  to  Charles  L,  died  at  Madrid,  at  the  time  his 
master  was  there,  Howell,  who  was  present,  relates  that  it  was 
only  as  an  especial  favour  to  the  suitor  of  the  Spanish  Infanta 
that  the  body  was  allowed  to  be  interred  in  the  garden  of  the 
embassy,  under  a  fig-tree.  A  few  years  afterwards,  1650,  Aschani, 
the  envoy  of  Cromwell,  was  assassinated,  and  his  corpse  put,  with- 
out any  rites,  into  a  hole ;  but  the  Protector  was  not  a  man  to  be 
trifled  with,  and  knew  well  how  to  deal  with  a  Spanish  govern- 
ment, always  a  craven  and  bully,  from  whom  nothing  ever  is  to 
be  obtained  by  concession  and  gentleness,  which  is  considered  as 
weakness,  while  everything  is  to  be  extorted  from  its  fears.  He 
that  very  year  conmianded  a  treaty  to  be  prepared  for  the  proper 
burial  of  liis  subjects,  to  which  the  blustering  Spaniard  imme- 
diately assented.  This  provision  was  stipulated  into  the  treaty  of 
Charles  IL  in  1664,  and  was  conceded  and  ratified  again  in 
1667  to  Sir  Itichard  Fanshawe. 

254  CEMETERY  AT  MALAGA.  [chap,  xviir. 

No  step,  however,  appears  to  have  been  taken  before  1796, 
when  Lord  Bute  purchased  a  spot  of  ground  for  the  burial 
of  Englishmen  outside  the  Alcala-gate,  at  Madrid.  During  the 
war,  when  all  Spain  was  a  churchyard  to  our  countrymen,  this  bit 
of  land  was  taken  possession  of  by  a  worthy  Madrilenian,  not  for 
his  place  of  sepulture,  but  for  good  and  profitable  cultivation. 
In  1831  Mr.  Addington  caused  some  researches  to  be  made,  and 
the  original  conveyance  was  found  in  the  Co7itaduria  de 
Hypothecas,  the  registry  of  deeds  and  mortgages  which  back- 
ward Spain  possesses,  and  which  advanced  England  does  not. 
The  intruder  was  ejected  after  some  struggling  on  his  part. 
Before  Lord  Bute's  time  the  English  had  been  buried  at  night 
and  without  ceremonies,  in  the  garden  of  the  convent  de  los 
Hecoletos ;  and,  as  Lord  Bute's  new  bit  of  ground  was  extensive 
and  valuable,  the  pious  monks  wished  to  give  up  the  English 
corner  in  their  garden,  in  exchange  for  it ;  but  the  transfer  was 
prevented  by  the  recent  law  which  forbade  all  burial  in  cities. 
The  field  purchased  by  Lord  Bute  is  now  unenclosed  and  uncul- 
tivated ;  fortunately  it  has  not  been  much  wanted,  only  fifteen 
Protestants  having  died  at  Madrid  during  the  last  thirty  years. 
In  November,  1831,  Ferdinand  VII.  finally  settled  this  grave 
question  by  a  decree,  in  which  he  granted  permission  for  the 
erection  of  a  Protestant  burial-ground  in  all  towns  where  a 
British  consul  or  agent  should  reside,  subject  to  most  degrading 
conditions.  The  first  cemetery  set  apart  in  Spain,  in  virtue  of 
this  gracious  decree  from  a  man  replaced  on  his  throne  by  the 
death  of  30,000  Englishmen,  was  the  work  of  Mr.  Mark,  our 
consul  at  Malaga ;  he  enclosed  a  spot  of  ground  to  the  east  of 
that  city,  and  placed  a  tablet  over  the  entrance,  recording  the 
royal  permission,  and  above  that  a  cross.  Thus  he  appealed  to 
the  dominant  feelings  of  Spaniards,  to  their  loyalty  and  religion. 
The  Malagenians  were  amazed  when  they  beheld  this  emblem  of 
Christianity  raised  over  the  last  home  of  Lutheran  dogs,  and 
exclaimed,  "  So  even  these  Jews  make  use  of  the  cross  !"  The 
term  Jew,  it  must  be  remembered,  is  the  acme  of  Spanish  loath- 
ing and  vituperation.  The  first  body  interred  in  it  was  that  of 
Mr.  Boyd,  who  was  shot  by  the  bloody  Moreno,  with  the  poor 
dupe  Torrijos  and  the  rest  of  his  rebel  companions. 



The  Spanish  Figaro — Mustachios — Whiskers — Beards — Bleeding — Heraldic 
Blood — Blue,  Red,  and  Black  Blood — Figaro's  Shop — The  Baratero — 
Shaving  and  Toothdrawiug. 

Few  who  love  Don  Quixote,  will  deem  any  notice  on  the  Penin- 
sular surgeon  complete  in  which  the  barber  is  not  mentioned, 
even  be  it  in  a  postscript.  Although  the  names  of  both  these 
learned  professors  have  long  been  nearly  synonymous  in  Spain, 
the  barber  is  much  to  be  preferred,  inasmuch  as  his  cuts  are  less 
dangerous,  and  his  conversation  is  more  agreeable.  He  with  the 
curate  formed  the  quiet  society  of  the  Knight  of  La  Mancha,  as 
the  apothecary  and  vicar  used  to  make  that  of  most  of  our  country 
squires  of  England.  Let,  therefore,  every  Adonis  of  France, 
now  bearded  as  a  pard  although  young,  nay,  let  each  and  all  of 
our  fair  readers,  albeit  equally  exempt  from  the  pains  and  penal- 
ties of  daily  shaving,  make  instantly,  on  reaching  sunny  Seville, 
a  pilgrimage  to  the  shrine  of  San  Figaro.  His  shop — apocryphal 
it  is  to  be  feared  as  other  legendary  localities — lies  near  the 
catliedral,  and  is  a  no  less  established  lion  tlian  the  house  of 
Dulcinea  is  at  Toboso,  or  the  prison  tower  of  Gil  Bias  is  at 
Segovia.  Such  is  the  magic  power  of  genius.  Cervantes  and 
Le  Sage  have  given  form,  fixture,  and  local  habitation  to  tlie 
airy  nothings  of  their  fancy's  creations,  while  Mozart  and  Rossini, 
by  filling  tlie  world  witli  melody,  have  bidden  the  banks  of  the 
Guadalquivir  re-echo  to  their  sweet  inventions. 

To  those  even  who  have  no  music  in  their  souls,  the  movement 
from  doctors  to  barbers  is  harmonious  in  a  land  where  beards 
were  long  honoured  as  the  type  of  valour  and  chivalry,  and 
where  shaving  took  the  precedence  of  surgery  ;  and  even  to  this 
day,  la  tienda  de  barbero,  the  shop  of  the  man  of  the  razor,  is 
better  supplied  than  many  a  Spanish  hospital  both  with  patients 
and  cutting  instruments.  One  word  first  on  the  black  whiskers 
of  tawny  Spain.     These  putillas,  as  they  are  now  termed,  must 

256  SPANISH  MUSTACHIOS.  [chap.  xix. 

be  distinguished  from  the  ancient  mustachio,  the  mostacho,  a 
very  classical  but  almost  obsolete  word,  wliich  the  scholars  of 
Salamanca  have  derived  from  fivarai,,  the  upper  lip.  Their  present 
and  usual  name  is  Bigote,  which  is  also  of  foreign  etymology, 
being  the  Spanish  corruption  of  the  German  oath  bey  gott,  and 
formed  under  the  following  circumstances :  for  nicknames,  which 
stick  like  burrs,  often  survive  the  history  of  their  origin.  The  free- 
riding  followers  of  Charles  V.,  who  wore  these  tremendous  appen- 
dages of  manhood,  swore  like  troopers,  and  gave  themselves  infinite 
airs,  to  the  more  infinite  disgust  of  their  Spanish  comrades,  who 
have  a  tolerable  good  opinion  of  themselves,  and  a  first-rate  hatred 
of  all  their  foreign  allies.  These  strange  mustachios  caught  their 
eyes,  as  the  stranger  sounds  which  proceeded  from  beneath  them 
did  their  ears.  Having  a  quick  sense  of  the  ridiculous,  and  a 
most  Oriental  and  schoolboy  knack  at  a  nickname,  they  thereupon 
gave  the  sound  to  the  substance,  and  called  the  redoubtable  gar- 
nish of  hair,  bigotes.  This  process  in  the  formation  of  phrases  is 
familiar  to  philologists,  who  know  that  an  essential  part  often  is 
taken  for  the  whole.  For  example,  a  hat,  in  common  Spanish  par- 
lance, is  equivalent  to  a  grandee,  as  with  us  the  woolsack  is  to  a 
Lord  Chancellor.  It  is  natural  that  unscholastic  soldiers,  when 
dealing  with  languages  which  they  do  not  understand,  should 
fix  on  their  enemies,  as  a  term  of  reproach,  those  words  which,  from 
hearing  used  the  most  often,  they  imagine  must  constitute  the 
foundation  of  the  hostile  grammar.  Thus  our  troops  called  the 
Spaniards  los  Carajos,  from  their  terrible  oaths  and  terrible 
runnings  away.  So  the  clever  French  designated  as  les  godams, 
those  "  stupid  "  fellows  in  red  jackets  who  never  could  be  made 
to  know  when  they  were  beaten,  but  continued  to  make  use  of 
that  significant  phrase  in  reference  to  their  victors,  until  they 
politely  showed  them  the  shortest  way  home  over  the  Pyrenees. 
The  real  Spanish  mustachio,  as  worn  by  the  real  Don  Whis- 
kerandoses,  men  with  shorter  cloaks  and  purses  than  beards  and 
rapiers,  have  long  been  cut  off,  like  the  pig- tails  of  our  monarchs 
and  cabinet  ministers.  Yet  their  merits  are  embalmed  in  meta- 
phors more  enduring  than  that  masterpiece  in  bronze  with  which 
Mr.  AVjatt,  full  of  Phidias,  has  adorned  King  George's  back  and 
Charing  Cross.  Thus  hombre  de  mucho  bigote,  a  man  of  much 
moustache,  means,  in  Spanish,  a  personage  of  considerable  pre- 

CHAP.  XIX.]  THE  BEARD,  257 

tension,  a  fine,  liberal  fellow,  and  anything,  in  short,  but  a  bi^ot 
in  wine,  women,  or  theology.  The  Spanish  original  realities, 
like  the  pig-tails  of  Great  Britain,  have  also  been  immortalised 
by  fine  art,  and  inimitably  painted  by  Velazquez.  Under  his 
life-conferring  brush  they  required  no  twisting  with  hot  irons. 
Curling  from  very  ire  and  martial  instinct,  they  were  called 
bigotes  a  la  Fernandina,  and  their  rapid  growth  was  attributed 
to  the  eternal  cannon  smoke  of  the  enemy,  into  which  nothino- 
could  prevent  their  valorous  wearers  from  poking  their  faces. 
This  luxuriance  has  diminished  in  these  degenerate  times,  unless 
Napier's  '  History  of  the  Peninsular  War  '  be,  as  the  Spaniards 
say,  written  in  a  spirit  of  envy  and  jealousy  against  their  heroic 
armies.w  hieli  alone  trampled  on  the  invincible  eagles  of  Austerlitz. 

As  among  the  Egyptian  gods  and  priests,  rank  was  indicated 
by  the  cut  of  the  beard,  so  in  Spain  the  military  civil  and  clerical 
shapes  were  carefully  defined.  The  Charley,  or  Imperial,  as  we 
term  the  little  tuft  in  the  middle  of  the  under  lip,  a  word  by  the 
way  which  is  derivable  either  from  our  Charles  or  from  his 
namesake  emperor,  was  called  in  Spain  El perrillo,  "the  little 
dog,"  the  terminating  tail  being  omitted,  which  however  becom- 
ing in  the  animal  and  bronzes,  shocked  Castilian  euphuism. 

In  the  media-'val  periods  of  Spain's  greatness  the  beard  and  not 
the  whisker  was  the  real  thing ;  and  as  among  the  Orientals  and 
ancients,  it  was  at  once  the  mark  of  wisdom  and  of  soldiership  ; 
to  cut  it  off  was  an  insult  and  injury  scarcely  less  than  decapita- 
tion ;  nay,  this  nicety  of  honour  survived  the  grave.  Tlie  seated 
corpse  of  the  Cid,  so  tells  his  history,  knocked  down  a  Jew  vvlio 
ventured  to  take  the  dead  lion  by  his  beard,  which,  as  all  natural 
philosophers  know,  has  an  independent  vitality,  and  grows 
whether  its  master  be  alive  or  dead,  be  willing  or  unwilling. 
When  the  insolent  Gauls  pulled  these  flowing  ornaments  of  the 
aged  Roman  senators,  they,  who  with  unmoved  dignity  had  seen 
Marshal  Brennus  steal  their  plate  and  pictures,  could  not  brook 
that  last  and  greatest  outrage.  In  process  of  time  and  fashion 
the  beards  of  Spain  fell  off,  and  being  only  worn  by  mendicant 
monks  and  he-goats,  were  considered  ungentlemanlike,  and  were 
substituted  among  cavaliers  by  the  Italian  mostachio  ;  the  seat  oi 
Spanish  honour  was  then  placed  under  the  nose,  that  sensitive 
sentinel.     The  renowned  Duke  of  Alva  being  of  course  in  want 

253  THE  BIGOTE.  [chap,  xix 

of  money,  once  offiered  one  of  his  bigotes  as  a  pledge  for  a  loan, 
and  one  only  was  considered  to  be  a  sufficient  security  by  the 
Rothschilds  of  the  day,  who  remembered  the  hair-breadth  escape 
of  their  ancestor  too  well  to  laugh  at  anything  connected  with  a 
hero's  beard  ;  nous  avons  change  tout  cela.  The  united  He- 
brews of  Paris  and  London  would  not  now  advance  a  stiver  for 
every  particular  hair  on  the  bodies  of  Narvaez  and  Espartero, 
not  even  if  the  moustache  reglementaire  of  Montpensier,  and  a 
bushel  of  Bourbon  beards,  warranted  legitimate,  were  added. 

The  use  of  the  bigote  in  Spain  is  legally  confined  to  the  mili- 
tary, most  of  whose  generals — their  name  is  legion — are  tenderly 
chary  of  their  Charlies,  dreading  razors  no  less  than  swords  ; 
when  the  Infante  Don  Carlos  escaped  from  England,  the  only 
real  diflliculty  was  in  getting  him  to  cut  off  his  moustache ;  he 
would  almost  sooner  have  lost  his  head,  like  his  royal  English 
tocayo  or  omonyme.  Elizabeth's  gallant  Drake,  when  he  burnt 
Philip's  fleet  at  Cadiz,  simply  called  his  Nelsonic  touch  "  singeing 
the  King  of  Spain's  whiskers,"  Zurbano  the  otlier  day  thought 
it  punishment  enough  for  any  Basque  traitors  to  cut  off  their 
bigotes,  and  turn  them  loose,  like  rats  without  tails,  jiour  en- 
courager  les  autres.  It  is  indeed  a  privation.  Thus  Majaval, 
the  pirate  murderer,  who  by  the  glorious  uncertainty  of  English 
law  was  not  hanged  at  Exeter,  offered  his  prison  beard,  when  he 
reached  Barcelona,  to  the  delivering  Virgin.  Many  Spanish  civi- 
lians and  shopkeepers,  in  imitation  of  tlie  transpyrenean  Calicots, 
men  who  wear  moustachios  on  their  lips  in  peace,  and  spectacles 
on  their  noses  in  war,  so  constantly  let  them  grow,  that  Ferdi- 
nand VII.  fulminated  a  royal  decree,  which  was  to  cut  them  off 
from  the  face  of  the  Peninsula,  as  the  Porte  is  docking  his  true 
believers.  Such  is  tlie  progress  of  young  and  beardless  civiliza- 
tion. Tlie  attempt  to  sliorten  the  cloaks  of  Madrid  nearly  cost 
Charles  III.  his  crown,  and  this  cropping  mandate  of  his  beloved 
grandson  was  obeyed  as  Spanish  decrees  generally  are,  for  a 
month  all  but  twenty-nine  days.  These  decrees,  like  solemn 
treaties,  charters,  stock-certificates,  and  so  forth,  being  mostly  used 
to  liglit  cigars  ;  now-a-days  that  the  Moro-Spaniard  is  aping 
the  true  Parisian  polish,  the  national  countenance  is  somewhat 
put  out  of  face,  to  the  serious  sorrow  and  disparagement  of 
poor  Figaro. 


As  for  liis  house  and  home  none  can  fail  finding  it  out ;  no 
cicerone  is  wanted,  for  the  outside  is  distinguislied  from  afar  by 
the  emblems  of  his  time-honoured  profession  :  first  and  foremos.t 
hangs  a  bright  glittering  metal  Mambrino-helmet  basin,  with  a 
neat  semicircular  opening  cut  out  of  the  rim,  into  which  the 
throat  of  the  patient  is  let  during  the  operation  of  lathering, 
which  is  always  done  with  the  hand  and  most  copiously ;  near  it 
are  suspended  huge  grinders,  which  in  an  English  museum  would 
pass  for  the  teeth  of  elephants,  and  for  those  of  Saint  Christopher 
in  Spanish  churches,  where  comparative  anatomy  is  scouted  as 
heretical  in  the  matter  of  relics  ;  strange  to  say,  and  no  Spanish 
theologian  could  ever  satisfy  us  why,  this  saint  is  not  the 
"  especial  advocate  "  against  the  toothache  ;  here  Santa  Apollonia 
is  the  soothing  patroness.  Near  these  molars  are  displayed  a^^  ful 
phlebotomical  symbols,  and  rude  representations  of  bloodlettings ; 
for  in  Spain,  in  church  and  out,  painting  does  the  work  of  print- 
ing to  the  many  who  can  see,  but  cannot  read.  The  barber's 
pole,  with  its  painted  bandage  riband,  the  support  by  which  the 
arm  was  kept  extended,  is  wanting  to  the  threshold  of  the  Figaros 
of  Spain,  very  much  because  bleeding  is  generally  performed  in 
the  foot,  in  order  that  the  equilibrium  of  the  whole  circulation 
may  be  maintained.  The  painting  usually  presents  a  female 
foot,  which  being  an  object,  and  not  unreasonably,  of  great  devo- 
tion in  Spain,  is  selected  by  the  artist  ^  tradition  also  influences 
the  choice,  for  the  dark  sex  were  wont  formerly  to  be  bled  regu- 
larly as  calves  are  still,  to  obtain  whiteness  of  flesh  and  fairness  of 
complexion  :  as  it  ^vas  usual  on  each  occasion  that  the  lover 
should  restore  the  exhausted  patient  by  a  present,  the  purses  of 
gallants  kept  pace  with  the  venous  depletion  of  their  mistresses. 
The  Sangrados  of  Spain,  professional  as  well  as  unprofessional, 
have  long  been  addicted  to  the  shedding  of  innocent  blood  ; 
indeed,  no  people  in  the  world  are  more  curious  about  the  pedi- 
gree purity  of  their  own  blood,  nor  less  particular  about  pouring 
it  out  like  water,  whether  from  their  own  veins  or  those  of  others, 
One  word  on  this  vital  fluid  with  which  vuihappy  Spain  is  too 
often  watered  during  her  intestine  disorders. 

If  the  Iberian  anatomists  did  not  discover  its  circulation,  the 
heralds  liave  "  tricked"  out  its  blazoning,  as  we  do  our  admirals, 
with  all  the  nicety  of  armorial  coloi'iug.     13lae  blood,  Sangre 

260  HERALDIC  BLOOD.  [chap.  xix. 

azuL  is  the  ichor  of  demigods  which  flows  in  the  arteries  of  the 

grandees  and  liighest  nobility,  each  of  whose  pride  is  to  be 

"  A  true  Hidalgo,  free  from  every  stain 
Of  Moor  or  Jewish  blood," 

a  boast  which  like  some  others  of  theirs  wants  confirmation,  as  it 
is  in  the  power  of  one  woman  to  taint  the  blood  of  Cliarlemagne  ; 
and  nature,  which  cannot  be  written  down  by  Debretts,  has 
stamped  on  their  countenances  the  marks  of  hybrid  origin,  and 
particularly  from  these  very  and  most  abhorred  stocks ;  it  is 
from  tliis  tint  of  celestial  azure  that  the  term  sangre  su  is  given 
in  Spain  to  the  elect  and  best  set  of  earth,  the  haute  voice,  who 
soar  above  vulgar  humanity.  Red  blood  flows  in  tlie  veins  of 
poor  gentlemen  and  younger  brothers,  and  is  just  tolerated  by 
all,  except  judicious  mothers,  whose  daughters  are  marriageable. 
Blood,  simple  blood,  is  tlie  puddle  which  paints  the  cheek  of 
the  plebeian  and  roturier ;  it  has,  or  ought  to  possess,  a  per- 
fect incompatibility  with  the  better  coloured  fluid,  and  an  oil 
and  vinegar  property  of  non-amalgamation.  There  is  more 
difference,  as  Salario  says,  between  such  bloods,  than  there  is 
between  red  wine  and  Rhenish.  These  and  other  dreams  are,  it 
is  to  be  feared,  the  fond  metaphors  of  heralds.  The  rosy  stream 
in  mockery  o^  rouge  croix  and  blue  dragons  flows  inversely  and 
perversely :  in  the  arteries  of  the  lusty  muleteer  it  is  the  lava 
blood  of  health  and  vigour  ;  in  the  monkey  marquis  and  baboon 
baron  it  stagnates  in  the  dull  lethargy  of  a  blue  collapse.  Their 
noble  ichor  is  virtually  more  impoverished  than  their  nominal 
rent-roll,  since  the  operation  of  transmission  of  wholesome  blood 
from  young  veins  into  a  worn-out  frame,  which  is  so  much  prac- 
tised elsewhere,  is  too  nice  for  the  Sangre  su  and  Sangrados  of 
Spain  ;  the  thin  fluid  is  never  enriched  with  the  calipash  heiress 
of  an  alderman,  nor  is  the  decayed  genealogical  stock  renewed 
by  the  golden  graft  of  a  banker's  only  daughter.  The  insignifi- 
cant grandees  of  Spain  quietly  permitted  Christina  to  barter 
away  their  country's  liberties  ;  but  when  her  children  by  the  base- 
born  Munoz  came  betwixt  them  and  their  nobility,  then  alone 
did  they  remonstrate.  Indifferent  to  the  degradation  of  the  throne, 
they  were  tremblingly  alive  to  the  punctilios  of  their  own  order. 
Those  Peninsular  ladies  who  are  blues,  by  blood  not  socks,  are 
equally  fastidious  in  the  serious  matter  of  its  admixture  even  by 


Hymen  :  one  of  them,  it  is  said,  having  chanced  in  a  moment  of 
weakness  to  mingle  her  azure  with  sometliing  brownish,  alleged  in 
excuse  that  she  had  done  so  for  her  cliaracter's  sake.  "  Que  dis- 
parate, mi  Senora."  "  AVhat  nonsense,  my  lady  !"  was  her  fair 
confidante's  reply  ;  "  ten  bastards  would  have  less  discoloured  your 
blood,  tlian  one  legitimate  child  the  issue  of  such  a  mis- 

To  stick,  however,  to  our  colours ;  black  blood  is  the  vile 
Stygean  pitch  which  is  found  in  the  carcasses  of  Jews,  Gentiles, 
Moors,  Lutherans,  and  other  combustible  heretics,  with  whose 
bodies  the  holy  tribunal  made  bonfires  for  the  good  of  their 
souls.  Nay,  in  the  case  of  the  Hebrew  this  black  blood  is  also 
thouglit  to  stink,  whence  Jews  were  called  by  learned  Latinists 
putos,  quia  putant ;  and  certainly  at  Gibraltar  an  unsavoury 
odour  seems  to  be  gentilitious  in  the  children  of  Israel,  not 
however  to  unorthodox  and  unheraldic  nostrils  a  jot  more  so,  than 
in  the  believing  Spanish  monk.  Recently  the  colour  black  has 
been  assigned  to  the  blood  of  political  opponents,  and  a  copious 
'■^ shedding  of  vile  black  blood"  has  been  the  regular  panacea 
of  every  military  Sangrado.  How  extremes  meet !  Thus,  this 
aristocracy  of  colour,  in  despotical  old  Spain,  which  lies  in  the 
veins,  is  placed  on  the  skin  in  new  republican  America.  Where  is 
the  free  and  easy  Yankee  would  recognise  a  brother,  in  a  black  ? 

To  return  to  Figaro.  There  is  no  mistaking  his  shop  ;  for  inde- 
pendently of  the  external  manifestations  of  the  fine  arts  practised 
within,  his  threshold  is  the  lounge  of  all  idlers,  as  well  as  of 
those  who  are  anxious  to  relieve  their  chins  of  the  thick  stubble 
of  a  three  days'  growth.  The  house  of  the  barber  has,  since  the 
days  of  Solomon  and  Horace,  been  the  mart  of  news  and  gossip, 
— of  epigram  and  satire,  as  Pasquino  the  tailor's  was  at  Rome. 
It  is  the  club  of  the  lower  orders,  who  here  take  up  a  position, 
and  listen,  cloaked  as  Romans,  to  some  reader  of  the  official 
Gazette,  which,  with  a  cigar,  indicates  modern  civilization,  and 
soothes  him  with  empty  vapour.  Here,  again,  is  the  mint  of 
scandal,  and  all  who  have  lived  intimately  with  Spaniards,  know 
how  invariably  every  one  stabs  his  neighbour  behind  his  back 
with  words,  the  lower  orders  occasionally  using  knives  sharper 
even  than  their  tongues.  Here,  again,  resort  ganibh'rs,  who, 
seated  on  the  ground  with  cards  more  begrimed  than  the  earth, 

262  THE  BAKATERO.  [chap.  xix. 

pursvie  their  fierce  game  as  eager  as  if  existence  was  at  slake  ;  for 
there  is  generally  some  well-known  cock  of  the  walk,  a  bully, 
or  cfuapo,  who  will  come  up  and  lay  his  hand  on  the  cards,  and 
say,  "No  one  shall  play  with  any  cards  but  with  mine" — aqui 
no  se  jiiega  sino  con  mis  barajas.  If  the  parties  are  cowed,  they 
give  him  a  lialfpenny  each.  If,  however,  one  of  the  challenged 
be  a  spirited  fellow,  he  defies  him — Aqui  no  se  cobra  el  barato 
sino  con  iin  puTial  de  Albacete — "  You  get  no  change  here 
except  out  of  an  Albacete  knife."  If  tiie  defiance  be  accepted, 
Vamos  alia  is  the  answer — "  Let 's  go  to  it."  There  's  an  end 
then  of  the  cards,  all  Hock  to  the  more  interesting  ecarte;  instances 
have  occurred,  where  Greek  meets  Greek,  of  their  tying  the  two 
advanced  feet  together,  and  yet  remaining  fencing  with  knife 
and  cloak  for  a  quarter  of  an  hour  before  the  blow  be  dealt. 
The  knife  is  held  firmly,  the  thumb  is  pressed  straight  on  the 
blade,  and  calculated  either  for  the  cut  or  thrust. 

The  term  Barato  strictly  means  the  present  which  is  given 
to  waiters  who  bring  a  new  pack  of  cards.  The  origin  is 
Arabic,  Baara,  "  a  voluntary  gift ;"  in  the  corruption  of  the 
Baratero,  it  has  become  an  involuntary  one.  Our  legal  term 
Barratry  is  derived  from  the  mediaeval  Barrateria,  which  sig- 
nified cheating  or  foul  play.  Cervantes  well  knew  that  Baratar 
in  old  Spanish  meant  to  exchange  unfairly,  to  thimble-rig,  to 
sell  anything  under  its  real  value,  and  therefore  gave  the  name 
of  Barrateria  to  Sancho's  sham  government.  The  Baratero  is 
quite  a  thing  of  Spain,  where  personal  prowess  is  cherished,  and 
there  is  one  in  every  regiment,  ship,  prison,  and  even  among 

The  interior  of  the  barber's  shop  is  equally  a  cosa  de  EspaTta. 
Her  neighbour  may  boast  to  lead  Europe  in  hair-dressing  and 
clipping  poodles,  but  Figaro  snaps  his  fingers  at  her  civilization, 
and  no  cat's  ears  and  tail  can  be  closer  shaved  than  his  one's  are. 
The  walls  of  his  operating  room  are  neatly  lathered  with  white- 
wash :  on  a  peg  hangs  his  brown  cloak  and  conical  hat ;  his 
shelves  are  decorated  with  clay-painted  figures  of  picturesque 
rascals,  arrayed  in  all  their  Andalucian  toggery — bandits,  bull- 
fighters, and  smugglers,  wlio,  especially  the  latter,  are  more  uni- 
versally popular  than  all  or  any  long-tail-coated  cliancellors  of  ex- 
chequers.    The  walls  are  enlivened  with  rude  prints  of  fiuidango 


dancings,  miracles,  and  bull-fights,  in  which  the  Spanish  vulgar 
delight,  as  ours  do  in  racing  and  ring  notabilities.  Nor  is  a  por- 
trait of  his  querida,  his  black-eyed  sweetheart,  often  wanting.  Near 
these,  for  religion  mixes  itself  with  everything  of  Spain,  are  images 
of  the  Virgin,  patron  saints,  with  stoups  for  holy  water,  and  little 
cups  in  which  lighted  wicks  burn  floating  on  green  oil ;  and 
formerly  no  barber  prepared  for  an  operation,  whether  on  veins, 
teeth,  or  beards,  witliout  first  making  the  sign  of  a  cross.  Thus 
hallowed,  his  implements  of  art  are  duly  arranged  in  order ;  his 
glass,  soap,  towels,  and  leather  strap,  and  guitar,  which  indeed, 
■with  the  razor,  constitutes  the  genus  barber.  "  Tliese  worthies," 
said  Don  Quixote,  "  are  all  either  guitarristas  o  copleros ;  they 
are  either  makers  of  couplets,  or  accompany  other  songsters  with 
catgut."  Hence  Quevedo,  in  his  '  Pigsties  of  Satan,'  punishes 
unrighteous  Figaros,  by  hanging  up  near  them  a  guitar,  which 
tantalizes  tiieir  touch,  and  moves  away  when  they  wish  to  take  it 

Few  Spaniards  ever  shave  themselves  ;  it  is  too  mechanical,  so 
they  prefer,  like  the  Orientals,  a  "  razor  that  is  hired,"  and  as 
that  must  be  paid  for,  scarcely  any  go  to  the  expensive  luxury  of 
an  every -day  shave.  Indeed,  Don  Quixote  advised  Sancho, 
when  nominated  a  governor,  to  shave  at  least  every  other  day  if 
he  wished  to  look  like  a  gentleman.  The  peculiar  sallowness  of 
a  Spaniard's  face  is  lieightened  by  the  contrast  of  a  sable  bristle. 
Figaro  himself  is  dressed  much  after  the  fashion  in  which  he 
appears  on  transpyrenean  stages  ;  he,  on  true  Galenic  principles, 
takes  care  not  to  alarm  his  patients  by  a  lugubrious  costume. 
There  is  nothing  black,  or  appertaining  to  the  grave  about  him ; 
he  is  all  tags,  tassels,  colour,  and  embroidery,  quips  and  quirks ; 
he  is  never  still ;  always  in  a  bustle,  he  is  lying  and  lathering, 
cutting  chins  and  capers,  here,  there,  and  everywhere.  Figaro 
la,  Figaro  qua.  If  he  has  a  moment  free  from  taking  off 
beards  and  making  paper  cigars,  he  whips  down  his  guitar  and 
sings  the  last  seguidilla ;  thus  he  drives  away  dull  care,  who 
hates  the  sound  of  merry  music,  and  no  wonder ;  the  operator 
performs  his  professional  duties  much  more  skilfully  than  the 
rival  surgeon,  nor  does  he  bungle  at  any  little  extraneous 
amateur  commissions ;   and  there  are  more  real  performances 


264  SPANISH  SHAVING.  lchap.  xix. 

enacted  by  the  barbers  in  Seville  itself,  than  in  a  dozen  European 
opera  houses. 

These  Figaros,  says  their  proverb,  are  either  mad  or  garrulous, 
Barbcros,  o  locos,  a  parleros.  Hence,  when  the  Andalucian 
autocrat,  Adrian,  when  asked  how  he  liked  to  be  shaved,  replied 
"  Silently."  Humbler  mortals  must  submit  to  let  Figaro 
have  his  wicked  way  in  talk  ;  for  when  a  man  is  fixed  in  his 
operating  chair,  with  his  jaws  lathered,  and  his  nose  between  a 
finger  and  a  thumb,  there  is  not  much  conversational  fair  play 
or  reciprocity.  The  Spanish  barber  is  said  to  learn  to  shave  on 
the  orphan's  head,  and  nothing,  according  to  one  described  by 
Martial,  escaped  except  a  single  wary  he-goat.  The  experiments 
tried  on  the  veins  and  teeth  of  aching  humanity,  are  sometimes 
ludicrous — at  others  serious,  as  we  know  to  our  cost,  having  been 
silly  enough  to  leave  behind  in  Spain  two  of  our  wise  teeth  as 
relics,  tokens,  and  trophies  of  Figaro's  unrelenting  prowess. 
We  cannot  but  remember  such  things  were,  and  were  dearer, 
than  the  pearls  in  Cleopatra's  ears,  which  she  melted  in  her  gaz- 
pachos.  "  A  mouth  without  molars,"  said  Don  Quixote  to 
Sancho,  "  is  worse  than  a  mill  without  grinding-stones ;"  and 
the  Don  was  right. 



What  to  observe  in  Spain — How  to  observe — Spanish  Incuriousness  and  Sus- 
picions— French  Spies  and  Plunderers — Sketching  in  Spain — Difficulties , 
How  Surmounted— Efficacy  of  Passports  and  Bribes — Uncertainty  and 
Want  of  Information  in  the  Natives. 

Now  that  the  most  approved  methods  of  travelling,  living,  and 
being  buried  in  Spain  have  been  touched  on,  our  kind  readers 
will  naturally  inquire,  what  are  the  peculiar  attractions  which 
should  induce  gentlemen  and  ladies  who  take  their  ease  at  home, 
to  adventure  into  this  land  of  roughing  it,  in  which  7ats  rather 
than  hares  jump  up  when  the  least  expected.  "  What  to  ob- 
serve "  is  a  question  easier  asked  than  answered  ;  who  indeed  can 
cater  for  the  multitudinous  variety  of  fancies,  the  differences  by 
which  Nature  keeps  all  nature  right  ?  Who  shall  decide  when 
doctors  disagree,  as  they  always  do,  on  matters  of  taste,  since 
every  one  has  his  own  way  of  viewing  tilings,  and  his  own  hobby 
and  predilection  ?  Say  not,  however,  with  Smellfungus,  that  all 
is  a  wilderness  from  Dan  to  Beersheba, — nor  seek  for  weeds 
where  flowers  grow.  The  search  for  the  excellent  is  the  high 
road  to  excellence,  as  not  to  appreciate  it  wlien  found  is  the 
surest  test  of  mediocrity.  The  refining  effort  and  habit  teaches 
the  mind  to  think  ;  from  long  pondering  on  the  beautiful  world 
without,  snatches  are  caught  of  the  beautiful  world  within,  and 
a  glimpse  is  granted  to  the  chosen  few,  of  glories  hidden  from  the 
vulgar  manjr.  They  indeed  have  eyes,  but  see  not ;  nay,  scarcely 
do  they  behold  the  things  of  external  nature,  until  told  what  to 
look  for,  where  to  find  it,  and  how  to  observe  it ;  then  a  new 
sense,  a  second  sight,  is  given.  Happy,  thrice  liappy  those 
from  whose  eyes  tlie  film  has  been  removed,  who  instead  of  a 
previous  vague  general  and  unintelligent  stare,  have  really  learnt 
to  seel  To  them  a  fountain  of  new  delights,  pure  and  imdtfiled, 
welling  up  and  overflowing,  is  opened  ;  in  proportion  as  they 
comprehend  the  infinite  form,  colour,  and  beauty  with  which 

?fi6  DIFFICULTIES  OF  OBSERVING.  [chap.  xx. 

Kature  clothes  lier  every  work,  albeit  her  sweetest  charms  are 
only  revealed  to  the  initiatetl,  reserved  as  tlie  rich  reward  of  those 
who  bow  to  her  shrine  with  singleness  of  purpose,  and  turn  to 
lier  worship  with  all  their  hearts,  souls,  and  understandings. 

It  was  with  these  beneficent  intentions  that  our  good  friend 
John  Murray  first  devised  Handbooks ;  and  next,  by  writing 
them  himself,  taught  others  how  to  dip  into  inkstands  for  red 
books,  which  tell  man,  woman,  and  child  what  to  observe,  to  the 
ruin  of  laquais  de  place,  and  discomfiture  of  authors  of  single 
octavos  and  long  vacation  excursions.  Few  gentlemen  who 
publish  the  notes  of  their  Peninsular  gallop  much  improve  their 
light  diaries  by  discussing  heavy  handbook  subjects ;  skimming, 
like  swallows,  over  the  surface,  and  in  pursuit  of  insects,  they 
neither  heed  nor  discern  the  gems  which  lurk  in  the  deeps 
below  ;  they  see  indeed  all  the  scum  and  straws  which  float  on 
the  surface,  and  Mrite  down  on  their  tablets  all  that  is  rotten  in 
the  state  of  Spain.  Hence  the  sameness  of  some  of  their  works ; 
one  book  and  bandit  reflects  another,  until  writers  and  readers 
are  imprisoned  in  a  vicious  circle.  Nothing  gives  more  pain  to 
Spaniards  than  seeing  volume  after  volume  written  on  tliemselves 
and  their  country  by  foreigners,  who  have  only  rapidly  glanced 
at  one-half  of  the  subject,  and  that  half  the  one  of  which  they 
are  the  most  ashamed,  and  consider  the  least  worth  notice.  This 
constant  prying  into  the  nakedness  of  the  land  and  exposing  it 
afterwards,  has  increased  the  dislike  which  they  entertain  towards 
the  imperlinente  curioso  tribe :  they  well  know  and  deeply  feel 
their  country's  decline ;  but  like  poor  gentlefolks,  who  have 
nothing  but  the  past  to  be  proud  of,  they  are  anxious  to  keep 
these  family  secrets  concealed,  even  from  themselves,  and  still 
more  from  the  observations  of  those  who  happen  to  be  their 
superiors,  not  in  blood,  but  in  worldly  prosperity.  This  dread 
of  being  shown  up  sharpens  their  inherent  suspicions,  wheo 
strangers  wish  to  "  observe,"  and  examine  into  their  ill-provideo 
arsenals  and  institutions,  just  as  Burns  was  scared  even  by  the 
honest  antiquarian  Grose  ;  so  they  lump  the  good  and  the  l>ad, 
putting  thera  down  as  book-making  Paul  Prys : — 

"If  there  's  a  hole  in  a'  your  coats, 
I  rede  ye  tent  it ; 
A  chiel  's  amang  ye,  taking  notes, 
And  faith !  he  11  prent  it." 


The  less  observed  and  said  about  these  Spanish  matters,  these 
cosas  de  Espana — the  present  tatters  in  her  once  proud  (lag,  on 
which  the  sun  never  set — is,  they  think,  the  soonest  mended. 
These  comments  heal  slower  than  the  knife-gai^h — "  Sanan 
cuchilladas,  mas  no  malas  j)cdabrasy  Let  no  author  imagine 
that  the  fairest  observations  that  he  can  take  and  make  of  Spain 
as  she  is,  setting  down  nought  in  malice,  can  ever  please  a 
Spaniard  ;  his  pride  and  self-esteem  are  as  great  as  the  self-con- 
ceit and  low  consequence  of  the  American  :  both  are  mor- 
bidly sensitive  and  touchy  ;  both  are  afflicted  with  the  notion 
that  all  the  world,  who  are  never  troubling  their  heads  about 
them,  are  thinking  of  nothing  else,  and  linked  in  one  common 
conspiracy,  based  in  envy,  jealousy,  or  ignorance  ;  "  you  don't 
understand  us,  I  guess."  Truth,  except  in  the  shape  of  a  com- 
pliment, is  the  greatest  of  libels,  and  is  howled  against  as  a 
lie  and  forgery  from  the  Straits  to  the  Bidasoa;  Napier's  his- 
tory, for  example.  Tlie  Spaniard,  wlio  is  hardly  accustomed  to 
a  free,  or  rather  a  licentious  press,  and  the  scavenger  propensity 
with  which,  in  England  and  America,  it  rakes  into  the  sewers 
of  private  life  and  the  gangrenes  of  public,  is  disgusted  with 
details  which  he  resents  as  a  breach  of  hospitality  in  strangers. 
He  considers,  and  justly,  that  it  is  no  proof  either  of  goodness  of 
breeding,  heart,  or  intellect,  to  be  searching  for  blemishes  rather 
than  beauties,  for  toadstools  rather  than  violets  ;  he  despises  those 
curmudgeons  who  see  motes  ratlier  than  beams  in  the  briglitest 
eyes  of  Andalucia.  The  productions  of  strangers,  and  especially 
of  those  who  ride  and  write  the  quic'kest,  must  savour  of  the  pace 
and  sources  from  whence  they  originate.  Foreigners  \vho  are 
imacquainted  with  the  language  and  good  society  of  Spain  are 
of  necessity  brought  tlie  most  into  contact  witli  the  lowest  scenes 
and  the  worst  class  of  people,  tlius  road-scrapings  and  postilion 
information  too  often  constitute  the  raw-head-and-bloody-bones 
material  of  their  composition.  All  this  may  be  very  amusing  to 
those  who  like  these  subjects,  but  they  afford  a  poor  criterion  fur 
descanting  on  w^hatever  does  the  most  honour  to  a  country,  or 
gives  sound  data  forjudging  its  real  condition.  How  would  we 
ourselves  like  that  Spaniards  should  form  their  opinions  of 
England  and  Englislmien  from  the  Newgate  calendars,  the  re- 
ports of  cads,  and  the  annals  of  beershops  "i 

268  DISLIKE  TO  OBSERVEKS.  [chap.  xx. 

Various  as  are  the  objects  worth  observing  in  Spain,  many  of 
which  are  to  be  seen  there  only,  it  may  be  as  well  to  mention 
what  is  not  to  be  seen,  for  there  is  no  such  loss  of  time  as  finding 
this  out  oneself,  after  weary  chace  and  wasted  hour.  Those  who 
expect  to  meet  with  well-garnished  arsenals,  libraries,  restau- 
rants, charitable  or  literary  institutions,  canals,  railroads,  tunnels, 
suspension-bridges,  steam-engines,  omnibuses,  manufactories, 
polytechnic  galleries,  pale-ale  breweries,  and  similar  appliances 
and  appurtenances  of  a  high  state  of  political,  social,  and  com- 
mercial civilization,  had  better  stay  at  home.  In  Spain  there 
are  no  turnpike-trust  meetings,  no  quarter-sessions,  no  courts  of 
justice,  according  to  the  real  meaning  of  that  word,  no  tread- 
mills, no  boards  of  guardians,  no  chairmen,  directors,  masters- 
extraordinary  of  the  court  of  chancery,  no  assistant  poor-law 
commissioners.  There  are  no  anti-tobacco-teetotal-temperance- 
meetings,  no  auxiliary-missionary-propagating  societies,  nothing 
in  the  blanket  and  lying-in  asylum  line,  nothing,  in  short,  worth 
a  revising-barrister  of  three  years'  standing's  notice,  unless  he 
be  partial  to  the  study  of  the  laws  of  bankruptcy.  Spain  is  no 
country  for  the  political  economist,  beyond  affording  an  example 
of  the  decline  of  the  wealth  of  nations,  and  offering  a  wide  topic 
on  errors  to  be  avoided,  as  well  as  for  experimental  theories, 
plans  of  reform  and  amelioration.  In  Spain,  Nature  reigns ; 
she  has  there  lavished  her  utmost  prodigality  of  soil  and  climate, 
which  Spaniards  have  for  the  last  four  centuries  been  endeavour- 
ing to  counteract  by  a  culpable  neglect  of  agricultural  speeches 
and  dinners,  and  a  non-distribution  of  prizes  for  the  biggest  boars, 
asses,  and  labourers  with  largest  families. 

The  landed  proprietor  of  the  Peninsula  is  little  better  than  a 
weed  of  the  soil ;  he  lias  never  observed,  nor  scarcely  permitted 
others  to  observe,  the  vast  capabilities  which  might  and  ought  to 
be  called  into  action.  He  seems  to  have  put  Spain  into  Chan- 
cery, such  is  the  general  dilapidation.  The  country  is  little 
better  than  a  terra  incognita,  to  naturalists,  geologists,  and  all 
other  branches  of  istsand  ologists.  Everywhere  there,  the  mate- 
rial is  as  superabundant  as  native  laboui'ers  and  operatives  are 
deficient.  All  these  rnteresting  branches  of  inquiry,  healthful 
and  agreeable,  as  being  out-of-door  pursuits,  and  bringing  the 
amateur  in  close  contact  with  nature,   offer  to  embryo  authors 


who  are  ambitious  to  hook  something  new,  a  more  worthy  subject 
than  the  old  story  of  dangers  of  bull-fights,  bandits,  and  black 
eyes.  Those  who  aspire  to  the  romantic,  the  poetical,  the  senti- 
mental, the  artistical,  the  antiquarian,  the  classical,  in  short,  to 
any  of  the  sublime  and  beautiful  lines,  will  find  both  in  the  past 
and  present  state  of  Spain,  subjects  enough  in  wandering  with 
lead-pencil  and  note-book  through  this  singular  country,  which 
hovers  between  Europe  and  Africa,  between  civilization  and 
barbarism ;  this  land  of  the  green  valley  and  barren  mountain, 
of  the  boundless  plain  and  the  broken  sierra ;  those  Elysian  gar- 
dens of  the  vine,  the  olive,  the  orange,  and  the  aloe  ;  those 
trackless,  vast,  silent,  uncultivated  wastes,  the  heritage  of  the 
wild  bee  ; — in  flying  from  the  dull  uniformity,  the  polished  mo- 
notony of  Europe,  to  the  racy  freshness  of  that  original,  un- 
changed country,  where  antiquity  treads  on  the  heels  of  to-day, 
where  Paganism  disputes  the  very  altar  with  Christianity,  where 
indulgence  and  luxury  contend  with  privation  and  poverty,  where 
a  want  of  all  that  is  generous  or  merciful  is  blended  with  the 
most  devoted  heroic  virtues,  where  the  most  cold-blooded  cruelty 
is  linked  with  the  fiery  passions  of  Africa,  where  ignorance  and 
erudition  stand  in  violent  and  striking  contrast. 

"  There,"  says  the  Handbook,  in  a  style  which  qualifies  the 
author  for  the  best  bound  and  fairest  edited  album,  "  let  the 
antiquarian  pore  over  the  stirring  memorials  of  many  thousand 
years,  the  vestiges  of  Phoenician  enterprise,  of  Roman  magnifi- 
cence, of  Moorish  elegance,  in  that  storehouse  of  ancient 
customs,  that  repository  of  all  elsewhere  long  forgotten  and 
passed  by ;  there  let  him  gaze  upon  those  classical  monuments, 
unequalled  almost  in  Greece  or  Italy,  and  on  those  fairy  Aladdin 
palaces,  the  creatures  of  Oriental  gorgeousness  and  imagination, 
with  which  Spain  alone  can  enchant  the  dull  European  ;  there 
let  the  man  of  feeling  dwell  on  the  poetry  of  her  envy -disarming 
decay,  fallen  from  her  high  estate,  the  dignity  of  a  dethroned 
monarch,  borne  with  unrepining  self-respect,  the  last  consolation 
of  the  innately  noble,  whicli  no  adversity  can  take  away;  let  the 
lover  of  art  feed  his  eyes  with  the  mighty  masterpieces  of  ideal 
Italian  art,  when  Raphael  and  Titian  strove  to  decorate  the 
palaces  of  Charles,  the  great  emperor  of  the  age  of  Leo  X.  Let 
him  gaze  on  the  living  nature  of  Velazquez  and  Murillo,  whose 

270  WHAT  TO  OBSERVE.  [chap.  xx. 

paintings  are  truly  to  be  seen  in  Spain  alone ;  let  the  artist 
sketcli  frowning  forms  of  the  castle,  the  pomp  and  splendour  of 
the  cathedral,  where  God  is  worshipped  in  a  manner  as  nearly 
befitting  his  glory. as  the  arts  and  wealth  of  finite  man  can  reach. 
Let  him  dwell  on  the  Gothic  gloom  of  the  cloister,  the  feudal 
turret,  the  vasty  Escorial,  the  rock-built  alcazar  of  imperial 
Toledo,  the  sunny  towers  of  stately  Seville,  the  eternal  snows  and 
lovely  vega  of  Granada ;  let  the  geologist  clamber  over  moun- 
tains of  marble,  and  metal-pregnant  sierras  ;  let  the  botanist  cull 
from  the  wild  hothouse  of  nature  plants  unknown,  unnumbered, 
matchless  in  colour,  and  breathing  the  aroma  of  the  sweet  south  ; 
let  all,  learned  and  unlearned,  listen  to  the  song,  the  guitar,  the 
Castanet ;  or  join  in  the  light  fandango  and  spirit-stirring  bullfight ; 
let  all  mingle  with  the  gay,  good-humoured,  temperate  peasantry, 
free,  manly,  and  independent,  yet  courteous  and  respectful ;  let 
all  live  with  the  noble,  dignified,  high-bred,  self-respecting 
Spaniard ;  let  all  share  in  their  easy,  courteous  society ;  let  all 
admire  their  dark-eyed  women,  so  frank  and  natural,  to  whom 
the  voice  of  all  ages  and  nations  has  conceded  the  palm  of  attrac- 
tion, to  whom  Venus  has  bequeathed  her  magic  girdle  of  grace 
and  fascination  ;  let  all — but  enough  on  starting  on  this  expedi- 
tion, "  where,"  as  Don  Quixote  said,  "  there  are  opportunities, 
brother  Sancho,  of  putting  our  hands  into  what  are  called  adven- 
tures up  to  our  elbows." 

Nor  was  the  La  Manchan  hidalgo  wrong  in  assigning  a  some- 
what adventurous  cliaracter  to  the  searchers  in  Spain  for  useful 
and  entertaining  knowledge,  since  the  natives  are  fond,  and  witn 
much  reason,  of  comparing  themselves  and  their  country  to 
tesoros  escondidos,  to  hidden  treasures,  to  talents  buried  in 
napkins  ;  but  they  are  equally  fond  of  turning  round,  and  falling 
foul  of  any  pains-taking  foreigner  who  digs  them  up,  as  Le  Sage 
did  the  soul  of  Pedro  Garcias.  Nothing:  throug^hout  the  leng'th 
and  breadth  of  the  land  creates  greater  suspicion  or  jealousy  than 
a  stranger's  making  drawings,  or  writing  down  notes  in  a  book : 
whoever  is  observed  sacando  planes,  "  taking  plans,"  mape- 
ando  el  pais,  "  mapping  the  country," — for  such  are  the  ex- 
pressions of  the  simplest  pencil  sketch — is  thought  to  be  an 
engineer,  a  spy,  and,  at  all  events,  to  be  about  no  good.  The 
lower   classes,    like   the   Orientals,   attach  a  vague  mysterious 


notion  to  these,  to  them  unintelligible,  proceedings  ;  whoever  is 
seen  at  work  is  immediately  reported  to  the  civil  and  military 
authorities,  and,  in  fact,  in  out-of-the-way  places,  whenever  an 
unknown  person  arrives,  from  the  rarity  of  the  occurrence,  he 
is  the  observed  of  all  observers.  Much  the  same  occurs  in  the 
East,  where  Europeans  are  suspected  of  being  emissaries  of  their 
governments,  as  neither  they  nor  Spaniards  can  at  all  under- 
stand why  any  man  should  incur  trouble  and  expense,  which  no 
native  ever  does,  for  the  mere  purpose  of  accpiiring  knowledge  of 
foreign  countries,  or  for  his  own  private  impi'ovement  or  amuse- 
ment. Again,  whatever  particular  investigations  or  questions 
are  made  by  foreigners,  about  things  that  to  the  native  appear 
unworthy  of  observation,  are  magnified  and  misrepresented  by 
the  many,  who,  in  every  place,  wish  to  curry  favour  with  who- 
ever is  the  governor  or  chief  person,  whether  civil  or  military. 
The  natives  themselves  attach  little  or  no  importance  to  views, 
ruins,  geology,  inscriptions,  and  so  forth,  which  they  see  every 
day,  and  which  they  therefore  conclude  cannot  be  of  any  more, 
or  ought  not  to  be  of  more,  interest  to  the  stranger.  They  judge 
of  him  by  themselves  ;  few  men  ever  draw  in  Spain,  and  those 
who  do  are  considered  to  be  professional,  and  employed  by  others. 
One  of  the  many  fatal  legacies  left  to  Spain  by  the  French, 
was  an  increased  suspicion  of  men  with  the  pencil  and  note- 
book. Previously  to  their  invasion  spies  and  agents  were  sent, 
who,  under  the  guise  of  travellers,  reconnoitred  the  land  ;  and 
then,  casting  off  the  clothing  of  sheep,  guided  in  the  wolves 
to  plunder  and  destruction.  The  aged  prior  of  the  Merced,  at 
Seville,  observed  to  us,  when  pointing  out  the  empty  frames  and 
cases  from  whence  the  Messrs.  vSoult  and  Co.  had  "  removed  " 
the  Murillos  and  sacred  plate, — "  Lo  creira  usted — Will  your 
Grace  believe  it,  I  beheld  among  the  ladrones  a  person  who 
grinned  at  me  when  I  recognised  him,  to  whom,  some  time  before 
the  invaders'  arrival,  I  had  pointed  out  these  very  treasures.  Tonto 
de  mi  I  Oh  !  simpleton  that  I  was,  to  take  a  gahacho  for  an 
honest  man."  Yet  this  worthy  individual  was  decorated  with  the 
legion  of  honour  of  Buonaparte,  whose  "  first  note  in  his  pocket- 
book  "  of  agenda,  after  the  conquest  of  England,  was  to  "  carry 
off  the  Warwick  vase ;"  as  Denon,  who  too  had  spoiled  the 
I^gyptians,  told  Sir  E.  Tomason.     We  English,  whose  shops, 

272  OFFICIAL  SUSPICION.  [chap.  xx. 

"  bursting  with  opulence  into  the  streets,"  have  not  yet  been 
visited,  although  tlie  temptation  is  held  out  by  royal  pamphleteers, 
can  scarcely  enter  into  the  feelings  of  those  whose  homes  are 
still  reeking  with  blood,  and  blighted  by  poverty.  The  Cas- 
tilian  cat,  who  has  been  scalded,  flies  even  from  cold  water. 

Some  excuse,  thei'efore,  may  be  alleged  in  favour  of  Spanish 
authorities,  especially  in  rarely  visited  districts,  when  they  behold 
a  strange  barbarian  eye  peeping  and  peering  about.  Their  first 
impression,  as  in  the  East,  is  that  he  may  be  a  Frank :  hence 
the  shaking,  quaking,  and  ague  which  comes  over  them.  At 
Seville,  Granada,  and  places  where  foreign  artists  are  somewhat 
more  plentiful,  the  processes  of  drawing  may  be  passed  over 
with  pity  and  contempt,  but  in  lonely  localities  the  star-gazing 
observer  is  himself  the  object  of  argus-eyed,  official  observation. 
He  is,  indeed,  as  unconscious  of  the  portentous  emotions  and  ill- 
omened  fears  which  he  is  exciting,  as  was  the  innocent  crow  of 
the  meanings  attached  to  his  movements  by  the  Roman  augurs, 
and  few  augurs  of  old  ever  rivalled  the  Spanish  alcaldes  of 
to-day  in  quick  suspicion  and  perception  of  evil,  especially  where 
none  is  intended.  Witness  what  actually  occurred  to  three  ex- 
cellent friends  of  ours. 

The  readers  of  Sorrow's  inimitable  '  Bible  in  Spain  '  will  re- 
member his  hair-breadth  escape  from  being  shot  for  Don  Carlos 
by  tlie  miraculous  intervention  of  the  alcalde  of  Corcubion,  who, 
if  still  alive,  must  be  a  phoenix,  and  clearly  worth  observation, 
as  lie  was  a  reader  of  the  "  grand  Baintham,"  or  our  illustrious 
Jeremy  Bentham,  to  whom  the  Spanish  reformers  sent  for  a 
paper  constitution,  not  having  a  very  clear  meaning  of  the  word 
or  thing,  whether  it  was  made  of  cotton  or  parchment.  Another 
of  the  very  best  investigators  and  writers  on  Spain,  Lord  Carnar- 
von, was  nearly  put  to  death  in  the  same  districts  for  Don  Miguel ; 
Captain  Widdrington,  also  one  of  the  kindest  and  most  honour- 
able of  men,  was  once  arrested  on  suspicion  of  being  an  agent  of 
Espartero  ;  and  we,  our  humble  selves,  have  had  the  felicity  of 
being  marched  to  a  guard -house  for  sketching  a  Roman  ruin, 
and  the  honour  of  being  taken,  either  for  Curius  Dentatus,  an 
alligator,  or  Julius  Caesar,— as  there  is  no  absurdity,  no  incon- 
ceivable ignorance,  too  great  for  the  local  Spanish  "  Dogberries," 
who  rarely  deviate  into  sense ;  when  their  fears  or  suspicions  are 


roused,  they  are  as  deaf  alike  to  the  dictates  of  common  reason  or 
humanity  as  adders  or  Berbers  ;  and  liere,  as  in  the  East,  even  the 
best  intentioned  may  be  taken  up  for  spies,  and  have  their  beards, 
at  least,  cut  off,  as  was  done  to  King  David's  envoyes.  All 
classes,  in  regard  to  strangers,  generally  get  some  hostile  notions 
into  their  heads,  and  then,  instead  of  fairly  and  reasonably  endea- 
vouring to  arrive  at  the  truth,  pervert  every  innocent  word,  and 
twist  every  action,  to  suit  their  own  preconceived  nonsense,  until 
trifles  become  to  their  jealous  minds  proofs  as  strong  as  Holy 
Writ.  In  justice,  however,  it  must  be  said,  that  when  these 
authorities  are  once  satisfied  that  the  stranger  is  an  Englishman, 
and  that  no  harm  is  intended,  no  people  can  be  more  civil  in 
offering  assistance  of  every  kind,  especially  the  lower  classes, 
who  gaze  at  the  magical  performance  of  drawing  with  wonder  : 
the  higher  classes  seldom  take  any  notice,  partly  from  courtesy, 
and  much  from  the  nil  admirari  principle  of  Orientals,  which 
conceals  both  inferiority  and  ignorance,  and  shows  good  breeding. 
The  drawing  any  garrison-town  or  fortified  place  in  Spain  is 
now  most  strictly  forbidden.  The  prevailing  ignorance  of 
everything  connected  with  the  arts  of  design  is  so  great,  that 
no  distinction  is  made  between  the  most  regular  plan  and  the 
merest  artistical  sketch :  a  drawing  is  with  them  a  drawing,  and 
punishable  as  such.  A  Spanish  barrack,  garrison,  or  citadel  is 
therefore  to  be  observed  but  little,  and  still  less  to  be  sketched. 
A  gentleman,  nay,  a  lady  also,  is  liable,  under  any  circumstances, 
when  drawing,  to  be  interrupted,  and  often  is  exposed  to  arrest 
and  incivility.  Indeed,  whether  an  artist  or  not,  it  is  as  well 
not  to  exhibit  any  curiosity  in  regard  to  matters  connected  with 
military  buildings  ;  nor  will  the  loss  be  great,  as  they  are  seldom 
worth  looking  at.  The  troops  in  our  time  were  in  a  most  ad- 
mired disorder.  If  they  wore  shoes  they  had  no  stockings  ;  if 
they  had  muskets,  flints  were  not  plentiful ;  if  powder  was  sup- 
plied, balls  were  scarce  ;  nothing,  in  short,  was  ever  according 
to  regulation.  Nay,  the  buttons  even  on  the  oflficers'  coats  were 
never  dressed  in  file  :  some  had  the  numbers  up,  some  down, 
some  awry  ;  but  uniformity  is  a  thing  of  Europe  and  not  of  the 
East.  At  this  moment,  when  the  cliurch  is  starved,  when 
widows'  pensions  are  unpaid,  when  governmental  bankruptcy 
walks  the  land,  whose  bones,  marrow,  and  all  are  wasted  to  sup- 

274  CAPTAIN-GENERAL'S  PASSPORT.  [chap.  xx. 

port  the  army,  whose  swords  uphold  the  hated  men  in  office, 
the  bands  of  the  Royal  Guard,  the  Prsetorian  bands,  do  not 
keep  tune,  nor  do  the  rank  and  file  march  in  time.  However 
painful  these  things  to  pipe-clay  martinets,  the  artist  loses  much, 
by  not  being  able  to  sketch  such  tumble-down  forts  and  ragged 
garrisons,  each  JBisoiio  of  which  is  more  precious  to  painter  eye 
than  the  officer  in  command  at  Windsor ;  while  his  short-petti- 
coated  querida  is  more  Murillo-like  than  a  score  of  patronesses 
of  Almack's. 

The  safest  plan  for  those  who  want  to  observe,  and  to  book 
what  they  observe,  is  to  obtain  a  Spanish  passport,  with  the 
object  of  their  curiosity  and  inquiries  clearly  specified  in  it. 
There  is  seldom  any  difficulty  at  Madrid,  if  application  be  made 
through  the  English  minister,  in  obtaining  such  a  document ; 
indeed,  when  the  applicant  is  well  known,  it  is  readily  given  by 
any  of  the  provincial  Captains-General.  As  it  is  couched  in  the 
Spanish  language,  it  is  understood  by  all,  high  and  low  ;  an  ad- 
vantage which  is  denied  in  Spain  to  those  issued  by  our  ambas- 
sadors, and  even  by  the  Foreign  Office,  who,  to  the  credit  of 
themselves  and  nation,  give  passes  to  Englishmen  in  the  French 
language,  whereby  among  Spaniards  a  suspicion  arises  that  the 
bearer  may  be  a  Frenchman,  which  is  not  always  pleasant.  We 
preserve  among  rare  Peninsular  relics  a  passport  gi-anted  by  our 
kind  patron  the  redoubtable  Conde  de  Espaiia,  and  backed  by 
the  no  less  formidable  Quesada  and  Sarsfield,  in  which  it  was 
enjoined,  in  choice,  intelligible  Castilian,  to  all  and  every  minor 
rulers  and  governors,  whether  with  the  pen  or  sword,  to  aid  and 
assist  the  bearer  in  his  examination  of  the  fine  arts  and  antiquities 
of  the  Peninsula.  These  autocrats  were  more  implicitly  obeyed 
in  their  respective  Lord  Lieutenancies  than  Ferdinand  himself; 
in  fact,  the  pashas  of  the  East  are  their  exact  types,  each  in 
their  district  being  the  heads  of  both  civil  and  military  tribunals  ; 
and  as  they  not  only  administer,  but  suit  the  law  according  to  the 
length  of  tlieir  own  feet,  tliey  in  fact  make  it  and  trample  upon 
it,  and  all  in  any  authority  below  them  imitate  their  superiors  as 
nearly  as  they  dare.  These  things  of  Spain  are  managed  with  a 
gravity  truly  Oriental,  both  in  the  rulers  and  in  the  resignation 
of  those  ruled  by  them  ;  these  great  men's  passport  and  sig- 
nature were  obeyed  by  all  minor  authorities  as  implicitly  as  an 


Oriental  firman ;  the  very  fact  of  a  stranger  having  a  Captain- 
General's  passport,  is  soon  known  by  everybody,  and,  to  use  an 
Oriental  phrase,  "  makes  his  face  to  be  vvliitened  ;"  it  acts  as  a 
letter  of  introduction,  and  is  in  truth  the  best  one  of  all,  since  it 
is  addressed  to  people  in  power  in  each  village  or  town,  who, 
true  sheikiis,  are  looked  up  to  by  all  below  them  witli  the  same 
deference,  as  they  themselves  look  up  to  all  above  them.  The 
worth  of  a  person  recommended,  is  estimated  by  that  of  the 
person  who  recommends  ;  tal  recomendacion  tal  recomendado. 
To  complete  this  thing  of  Oriental  Spain,  these  three  omni- 
potent despots,  who  defied  laws  human  and  divine,  who  made 
dice  of  their  enemies'  bones,  and  gobiets  of  their  skulls,  have  all 
since  been  assassinated,  and  sent  to  their  account  with  all  their 
sins  on  their  heads.  In  limited  monarchies  ministers  who  go 
too  far,  lose  their  places,  in  Spain  and  Turkey  their  heads  :  the 
former,  doubtless,  are  the  most  severely  punished. 

Those  who  wish  to  observe  Spanish  man,  Avhich,  next  to 
Spanish  woman,  forms  the  proper  study  of  mankind,  will  find 
that  one  key  to  decipher  this  singular  people  is  scarcely  Euro- 
pean, for  this  Berheria  Cristiana  is  a  neutral  ground  placed 
between  the  hat  and  the  turban  ;  many  indeed  of  themselves 
contend  that  Africa  begins  even  at  the  Pyrenees.  Be  that  as  it 
may,  Spain,  first  civilized  by  the  Phoenicians,  and  long  possessed 
by  the  Moors,  has  indelibly  retained  the  original  impressions. 
Test  her,  therefore,  and  her  males  and  females,  by  an  Oriental 
standard,  how  analogous  does  much  appear  that  is  strange  and 
repugnant,  if  compared  with  European  usages.  Take  care,  how- 
ever, not  to  let  either  the  ladies  or  gentlemen  know  the  hidden 
processes  of  your  mind,  for  nothing  gives  greater  offence.  The 
fair  sex  is  willing,  to  prevent  such  a  mistake,  to  lay  aside  even 
their  becoming  mantillas,  as  their  hidalgos  doff  their  stately 
Roman  cloaks.  These  old  clothes  they  offer  up  as  sacrifices  on 
the  altar  of  civilization,  and  to  the  mania  of  looking  exactly  like 
the  rest  of  the  woild,  in  Hyde  Park  and  the  Elysian  Fields. 

Another  remarkable  Oriental  trait  is  the  general  want  of  love 
for  the  beautiful  in  art,  and  the  abundance  of  that  AcpiXvKuXia 
with  which  the  ancients  reproached  the  genuine  Iberians ;  this 
is  exhibited  in  the  general  neglect  and  indifl:erence  shown  towards 
Moorish  works,  which  instead  of  destroying  they  ought  rather  to 

276  INDIFFERENCE  TO  THE  BEAUTIFUL.       [chap.  xx. 

have  protected  under  glasses,  since  such  attractions  are  pecu- 
liar to  the  Peninsula.  The  Alhambra,  the  pearl  and  magnet 
of  Granada,  is  in  their  estimation  little  better  thin  a  casa  de 
ratones,  or  a  rat's  hole,  which  in  truth  they  have  endeavoured 
to  make  it  by  centuries  of  neglect ;  few  natives  even  go  there, 
or  understand  the  all-absorbing  interest,  the  concentrated  devo- 
tion, which  it  excites  in  the  stranger  ;  so  the  Bedouin  regards  the 
ruins  of  Palmyra,  insensible  to  present  beauty,  as  to  past  poetry  and 
romance.  Sad  is  this  non-appreciation  of  the  Alhambra  by  the 
Spaniards,  but  such  are  Asiatics,  with  whom  sutficient  for  the 
A-d.^  Vi  their  to-day ;  who  care  neither  for  the  past  nor  for  the 
future,  who  think  only  for  the  present  and  themselves,  and  like 
them  the  masses  of  Spaniards,  although  not  wearing  turbans, 
lack  the  organs  of  veneration  and  admiration  for  anything 
beyond  matters  connected  with  the  first  person  and  the  pi'esent 
tense.  Again,  the  leaven  of  hatred  against  the  IMoor  and  his  relics 
is  not  extinct ;  they  resent  as  almost  heretical  the  preference 
shown  by  foreigners  to  the  works  of  infidels  rather  than  to 
those  of  good  Catholics ;  such  preference  again  at  once  implies 
their  inferiority,  and  convicts  them  of  bad  taste  in  their 
non-appreciation,  and  of  Vandalism  in  labouring  to  mutilate, 
what  the  Moor  laboured  to  adorn.  The  charming  wTitings  of 
Washington  Irving,  and  the  admiration  of  European  pilgrims, 
have  latterly  shamed  the  authorities  into  a  somewhat  more  con- 
servative feeling  towards  the  Alhambra  ;  but  even  their  benefits 
are  questionable;  they  "  repair  and  beautify  "  on  the  church- 
warden principle,  and  there  is  no  less  danger  in  such  "  restora- 
tions "  than  in  those  fatal  scourings  of  Murillo  and  Titian  in  the 
Madrid  gallery,  which  are  effacing  the  lines  where  beauty  lingers. 
Even  their  tardy  appreciation  is  somewhat  interested :  thus 
Mellado,  in  his  late  Guide,  laments  that  there  should  be  no 
account  of  the  Alhambra,  of  which  he  speaks  coldly,  and  suggests, 
as  so  many  "  English  "  visit  it.  that  a  descriptive  work  would 
be  a  segiira  especulacion  I  a  safe  speculation  !  Thus  the  poetry 
of  the  Moorish  Alhambra  is  coined  into  the  Spanish  prose  of 
profitable  shillings  and  sixpences. 

Travellers  however  should  not  forget,  that  much  which  to 
them  has  the  ravishing,  enticing  charms  of  novelty,  is  viewed 
by  the  dull  sated  eye  of  the  native,  with  familiarity  which  breeds 


contempt ;  they  are  weary,  oh  fatal  lassitude  !  even  of  the  beau- 
tiful :  alas !  exclaimed  the  hermit  on  Monserrat,  to  the  stranger 
who  was  ravished  by  exquisite  views,  then  and  there  beheld  by 
him  for  the  first  and  last  time,  "  all  this  has  no  attraction  for 
me  ;  twenty  and  nine  are  the  years  tliat  I  have  seen  this  unchanged 
scene,  every  sunrise,  every  noon,  every  sunset."  But  sordent 
domestica,  observes  Pliny,  nor  ai"e  all  things  or  persons  honoured 
in  their  own  homes  as  tliey  ought  to  be,  since  the  days  that  IMa- 
homet  the  true  prophet  failed  to  persuade  his  wife  and  valet  that 
his  powers  were  supernatural.  Can  it  be  wondered  that  ruins  and 
"  old  rubbish  "  sliould  be  held  cheap  among  the  Moro-Spaniards  ? 
or  that  their  so-called  "  guides"  should  mislead  and  misdirect  the 
stranger?  It  cannot  well  be  avoided,  since  few  of  the  writers 
ever  travel  in  their  own  country,  and  fewer  travel  out  of  it ; 
thus  from  their  limited  means  of  comparison,  they  cannot  appre- 
ciate differences,  nor  tell  what  are  the  wants  and  wishes  of  a 
foreigner :  accordingly,  scenes,  costumes,  ruins,  usages,  cere- 
monies, &c.,  which  they  have  known  from  childhood,  are  passed 
over  without  notice,  although,  from  their  passing  newness  to  the 
stranger,  they  are  exactly  what  he  most  desires  to  have  pointed 
out  and  explained.  Nay,  the  natives  frequently  despise  or  are 
ashamed  of  those  very  things,  which  most  interest  and  charm 
the  foreigner,  for  whose  observation  they  select  the  modern 
rather  than  the  old,  offering  especially  their  poor  pale  copies 
of  Europe,  in  preference  to  their  own  rich,  racy,  and  natural 
originals,  doing  this  in  nothing  more  than  in  the  costume  and 
dwellings  of  tiie  lower  classes,  who  happily  are  not  yet  afflicted 
with  the  disease  of  French  polish  :  they  indeed,  when  they  dig 
up  ancient  coins,  will  rub  off  the  precious  rust  of  twice  ten 
hundred  years,  in  order  to  render  them,  as  they  imagine,  more 
saleably  attractive  ;  but  they  fortunately  spare  tliemselves,  inso- 
much that  Charles  III.,  on  failing  in  one  of  his  laudable  attempts 
to  improve  and  modernise  them,  compared  his  loving  subjects  to 
naughty  children,  who  quarrel  with  their  good  nurse  when  she 
wants  to  wash  them. 

Again,  no  country  in  the  world  can  vie  with  Spain,  where  the 
dry  climate  at  least  is  conservative,  with  memorials  of  auld  lang 
syne,  with  tower  and  turret,  Prout-like  houses  and  toppling 
balconies,  so  old  that  they  seem  only  not  to  fall  into  the  torrents 


278  WANT  OF  INFORMATION.  [chap,  xx, 

and  ravines  over  which  they  hang.  Here  is  every  form  and 
colour  of  picturesque  poverty ;  vines  clamber  up  the  irregulari- 
ties, while  below  naiads  dabble,  washing  their  red  and  yellow 
garments  in  the  all-gilding  glorious  sun-beams.  What  a  picture 
it  is  to  all  but  the  native,  who  sees  none  of  the  wonders  of  lights 
and  shadows,  reflections,  colours,  and  outlines ;  who,  blind  to 
all  the  beauties,  is  keenly  awake  only  to  tlie  degradation,  the  rags 
and  decay ;  he  half  suspects  that  your  sketch  and  admiration  of 
a  smuggler  or  bullfighter  is  an  insult,  and  tliat  you  are  taking 
it,  in  order  to  show  in  England  what  Mons.  Guizot  will  never 
be  forgiven  for  calling  the  "  brutal "  things  of  Spain  ;  accord- 
ingly, while  you  are  sincerely  and  with  reason  delighted  with 
sashes  and  Zamarras,  he  begs  you  to  observe  his  ridiculous 
Boulevard-cut  coat :  or  when  you  sit  down  opposite  to  a  half- 
ruined  Roman  wall,  some  crumbling  Moorish  arch,  or  mediaeval 
Gothic  shrine,  he  implores  you  to  come  away  and  draw  the  last 
spick  and  span  Royal  Academical  abortion,  coldly  correct  and 
classically  dull,  in  order  to  carry  home  a  sample  which  may  do 
credit  to  Spain,  as  approximating  to  the  way  things  are  managed 
at  Ciiaring  Cross. 

Without  implicitly  following  the  advice  of  these  Spaniards  of 
better  intention  than  taste,  no  man  of  research  will  undervalue 
any  assistance  by  which  his  objects  are  promoted,  even  should 
he  be  armed  Avith  a  captain-general's  passport,  and  a  red  Mur- 
ray. Meagre  is  the  oral  information  which  is  to  be  obtained  from 
Spaniards  on  the  spot ;  these  incurious  semi-Orientals  look  with 
jealousy  on  the  foreigner,  and  either  fence  with  him  in  their 
answers,  raise  difficulties,  or,  being  highly  imaginative,  magnify 
or  diminish  everytliing  as  best  suits  their  own  views  and  sus- 
picions. The  national  expressions  "  Quien  sale?  no  se  sahe" — 
"who  knows?  1  do  not  know,"  will  often  be  the  prelude  to 
"iVo  se  puede" — "  it  can't  be  done." 

These  impediments  and  impossibilities  are  infinitely  increased 
when  the  stranger  has  to  do  with  men  in  office,  be  it  ever  so 
humble  ;  the  first  feeling  of  these  Dogberries  is  to  suspect  mischief 
and  give  refusals.  "  No  "  may  be  assumed  to  be  their  natural 
answer ;  nor  even  if  you  have  a  special  order  of  permission,  is  ad- 
mission by  any  means  certain.  The  keeper,  who  here  as  elsewhere, 
considers  the  objects  committed  to  his  care  as  his  own  private  pre- 


perty  and  source  of  perquisite,  must  be  conciliated  :  often  when 
you  have  toiled  through  tlie  heat  and  dust  to  some  distant  cliurch, 
museum,  library,  or  what  not,  after  much  ringing  and  waiting, 
you  will  be  drily  informed  that  it  is  shut,  can't  be  seen,  that  it 
is  the  wrong  day,  that  you  must  call  again  to-morrow ;  and  if  it 
be  the  right  day,  then  you  will  be  told  that  the  hour  is  wrong, 
that  you  are  come  too  early,  too  late ;  very  likely  the  keeper's  wife 
will  inform  you  that  he  is  out,  gone  to  mass,  or  market,  or  at  his 
dinner,  or  at  his  siesta,  or  if  he  is  at  home  and  awake,  he  will  swear 
that  his  wife  has  mislaid  the  key,  "  which  she  is  always  doing."  If 
all  these  and  other  excuses  won't  do,  and  you  persevere,  you  will  be 
assured  that  there  is  nothing  worth  seeing,  or  you  will  be  asked  why 
you  want  to  see  it  ?  As  a  general  rule,  no  one  should  be  deterred 
from  visiting  anything,  because  a  Spaniard  of  the  upper  classes 
gives  his  opinion  that  the  object  is  beneath  notice ;  he  will  try  to 
convince  you  that  Toledo,  Cuenca,  and  other  places  which  cannot 
be  matched  in  Christendom,  are  ugly,  odious,  old  cities  ;  he  is 
ashamed  of  them  because  the  tortuous,  narrow  lanes  do  not  run  in 
rows  as  straight  as  Pall  Mall  and  the  Kue  de  Rivoli.  In  fact  his 
only  notion  of  a  civilized  town  is  a  common-place  assemblage 
of  rectangular  wide  streets,  all  built  and  coloured  uniformly,  like 
a  line  of  foot-soldiers,  paved  with  broad  flags,  and  lighted  with 
gas,  on  which  Spaniards  can  walk  about  dressed  as  English- 
men, and  Spanish  women  like  those  of  France;  all  of  which  said 
wonders  a  foreigner  may  behold  far  better  nearer  home ;  nor  is 
it  much  less  a  waste  of  time  to  go  and  see  what  the  said  Spaniard 
considers  to  be  a  real  lion,  since  the  object  generally  turns  out 
to  be  some  poor  imitation,  without  form,  angle,  history,  nation- 
ality, colour,  or  expression,  beyond  that  of  utilitarian  comfort 
and  common-place  convenience — great  advantages  no  doubt  both 
to  contractors  and  political  economists,  but  death  and  destruc- 
tion to  men  of  the  pencil  and  note-book. 

The  sound  principles  in  Spanish  sight-seeing  are  few  and 
simple,  but,  if  observed,  they  will  generally  prove  successful  ; 
first,  persevere  ;  never  be  put  back  ;  never  take  an  answer  if  it  be 
in  the  negative ;  never  lose  temper  or  courteous  manners ;  and 
lastly,  let  the  tinkle  of  metal  be  heard  at  once ;  if  the  chief  or 
great  man  be  inexorable,  find  out  privately  who  is  the  wretched 
sub  who  keeps  the  key,  or  the  crone  who  sweeps  the  room  ;  and 

u  2 

280  HOW  TO  BE  ADMITTED.  [chap.  xx. 

then  send  a  discreet  messenger  to  say  that  you  will  pay  to  be 
admitted,  without  mentioning  "  nothing  to  nobody."     Thus  you 
will  always  obtain  your  view,  even  when  an  official  order  fails. 
On  our  first  arrival  at  Madrid,  when  but  young  in  these  things 
of  Spain,  we  were  desirous  of  having  daily  permission  to  examine 
a  royal  gallery,  which  was  only  open  to   the  public  on  certain 
days  in  tlie  week.     In  our  grave  dilemma  we  consulted  a  sage 
and  experienced  diplomatist,  and  this  was  the  oracular  reply  : — 
"  Certainly,  if  you  wish   it,   I  will    make  a  request  to  Seiior 
Salmon   (the  then  Home  Secretary),  "  and  beg  him  to  give  you 
the  proper  order,   as  a  personal  favour  to  myself     By  the  way, 
how  much  longer  shall  you  remain  here  ?" — "  From  three  to  four 
weeks." — "  Well,  then,  after  you  have  been  gone  a  good  month, 
I  shall  get  a  courteous  and  verbose  epistle  from  his  Excellency, 
in  which  he  will  deeply  regret  that,  on  searching  the  archives  of 
his  office,  there  was  no  instance  of  such  a  request  having  ever 
been  granted,  and  that  he  is  compelled  most  reluctantly  to  return 
a  refusal,  from  the  fear  of  a  precedent  being  created.    My  advice 
to  you  is  to  give  the  porter  a  dollar,  to  be  repeated  whenever  the 
door-hinges  seem  to  be  getting  rusty  and  require  oiling."     The 
hint  was  taken,  as  was  the  bribe,  and  the  prohibited  portals  ex- 
panded so  regularly,  that  at  last  they  knew  the  sound  of  our 
footsteps.     Gold   is  the  Spanish  sesame.     Thus  Soult  got  into 
Badajoz,  tlms  Louis  Philippe  put  Espartero  out,  and  Montpen- 
sier  in.     Gold,  bright  red  gold,  is  the  sovereign  remedy  which  in 
Spain  smootlis   all  difficulties,  nay,    some  in  which    even  force 
has   failed,   as   here   the  obstinate   heads   may  be  guided  by  a 
straw  of  bullion,  but  not  driven  by  a  bar  of  iron.     Tlie  magic 
influence  of  a  bribe  pervades  a  land,  where  everything  is  venal, 
even  to  the  scales  of  justice.     Here  men  who  have  objects  to 
gain  begin  to  work  from  the  bottom,  not  from  the  top,  as  we  do 
in  England.     In  order  to  ensure  success,  no  step  in  the  official 
ladder  must  be  left  unanointed.      A  wise    and  prudent  suitor 
bribes  from  the  porter  to  the  premier,  taking  care  not  to  forget 
the  under-secretary,  the    over-secretary,  the  private  secretary, 
all  in  their  order,  and  to  regulate  the  douceur  according  to  each 
man's  rank  and  influence.     If  you  omit  the  porter,  he  will  not 
deliver  your  card,  or  will  say  Seiior  Mon  is  out,  or  will  tell  you 
to  call  again  manana,  the  eternal  to-morrow.     If  you  forget  the 


chief  clerk,  he  will  mislay  j-^our  petition,  or  poison  his  master's 
ear.  In  matters  of  great  and  political  importance,  the  sovereign, 
him  or  herself,  must  have  a  share ;  and  thus  it  was  tiiat  Calo- 
marde  continued  so  long  to  manage  the  beloved  Ferdinand  and 
his  counsels.  He  was  the  minister  who  laid  the  greatest  bribe  at 
the  royal  feet.  "  Sire,  by  strict  attention  and  honesty,  I  have 
just  been  enabled  to  economise  50,000/.,  on  the  sums  allotted  to 
my  department,  which  I  have  now  the  honour  atid  felicity  to 
place  at  your  Majesty's  disposal." — "  Well  done,  my  faithful  and 
good  minister,  here  is  a  cigar  for  you."  This  Calomarde,  who 
began  life  as  a  foot-boy,  smuggled  through  the  Chi  istiiiist  swindle, 
by  which  Isabel  now  wears  the  crown  of  Don  Carlos.  The 
rogue  was  rewarded  by  being  made  Conde  de  So-  Isabel,  a  title 
which  since  has  been  conferred  on  Mons.  Bresson's  baby — a  deli- 
cate compliment  to  his  sire's  labours  in  the  transfer  of  the  said 
crown  to  Louis  Philippe — but  Spaniards  are  full  of  dry  humour. 
In  the  East,  the  example  and  practice  of  the  Sultan  and  Vizier 
is  followed  by  every  pacha,  down  to  the  lowest  animal  who  wields 
the  most  petty  authority ;  the  disorder  of  the  itching  palm  is 
endemic  and  epidemic,  all,  whether  high  and  low,  want,  and  must 
have  money  ;  all  wish  to  get  it  without  the  disgrace  of  begging, 
and  without  the  danger  of  highway  robbery.  Public  poverty  is 
the  curse  of  the  land,  and  all  empleados  or  persons  in  office  excuse 
themselves  on  dire  necessity,  the  old  plea  of  a  certain  gentleman, 
which  has  no  law.  Some  allowance,  therefore,  may  be  made  for 
the  rapacity  which,  with  very  few  exceptions,  prevails ;  the 
regular  salaries,  always  inadequate,  are  generally  in  arrear,  and 
the  public  servants,  poor  devils,  swear  that  they  are  forced  to 
pay  themselves  by  conniving  at  defrauding  the  government ;  this 
few  scruple  to  do,  as  all  know  it  to  be  an  unjust  one,  and  that  it 
can  afford  it ;  indeed,  as  all  are  offenders  alike,  the  guilt  of  the 
offence  is  scarcely  admitted.  Where  robbing  and  jobbing  are 
the  universal  order  of  the  day,  one  rascal  keeps  another  in  coun- 
tenance, as  one  goitre  does  another  in  Switzerland.  A  man  who 
does  not  feather  his  nest  when  in  place,  is  not  thought  honest,  but 
a  fool ;  es  precise,  que  cada  uno  comd  de  su  qficio.  It  is  necessary, 
nay,  a  duty,  as  in  the  East,  that  all  should  live  by  their  office ; 
and  as  office  is  short  and  insecure,  no  time  or  means  is  neglected 

282  SPANISH  IGNORANCE.  [chap.  xx. 

in  making  up  a  purse  ;  thus  poverty  and  their  Avill  alike  and 
readily  consent. 

Take  a  case  in  point.  We  remember  calling  on  a  Spaniard 
who  held  the  highest  office  in  a  chief  city  of  Andalucia.  As  we 
came  into  his  cabinet  a  cloaked  personage  was  going  out ;  the 
great  man's  table  was  covered  with  gold  ounces,  which  lie  was 
shovelling  complacently  into  a  drawer,  gloating  on  the  glorious 
haul.  "  Many  ounces,  Excellency,"  said  we.  "  Yes,  my  friend," 
was  his  reply — "  no  quiero  comer  mas  patatas, — I  do  not  intend 
to  dine  any  more  on  potatoes."  This  gentleman,  during  the 
Sistema,  or  Riego  constitution,  had,  with  other  loyalists,  been 
turned  out  of  office  ;  and,  having  been  put  to  the  greatest  hard- 
ships, was  losing  no  time  in  taking  prudent  and  laudable  pre- 
cautions to  avert  any  similar  calamity  for  the  future.  His  prac- 
tices were  perfectly  well  known  in  the  town,  where  people  simply 
observed,  "  Estd  atesorando,  he  is  laying  up  treasures," — as  every 
one  of  them  would  most  certainly  have  done,  had  they  been  in 
his  fortunate  position.  Rich  and  honest  Britons,  therefore,  should 
not  judge  too  hardly  of  the  sad  shifts,  the  strange  bed-fellows, 
with  which  want  makes  the  less  provided  Spaniards  acquainted. 
Donde  no  hay  abimdancia,  no  hay  observancia.  The  empty  sack 
cannot  stand  upright,  nor  was  ever  a  sack  made  in  Spain  into 
which  gain  and  honour  could  be  stowed  away  together  ;  honra  y 
provecho,  no  caben  en  un  saco  o  techo ;  here  virtue  itself  suc- 
cumbs to  poverty,  induced  by  more  than  half  a  century  of  mis- 
government,  let  alone  tiie  ruin  caused  by  Buonaparte's  invasion, 
to  which  domestic  troubles  and  civil  wars  have  been  added. 

To  return,  however,  to  sight-seeing  in  Spain.  Lucky  was  the 
traveller  prepared  even  to  bribe  and  pay,  who  ever  in  our  time 
chanced  to  fall  in  with  a  librarian  who  knew  what  books  he  had, 
or  with  a  priest  who  could  tell  what  pictures  were  in  his  chapel ; 
ask  him  for  the  painting  by  Murillo — a  shoulder-shrug  was  his 
reply,  or  a  curt  "  no  hay"  "  there  is  none ;"  had  you  inquired 
for  the  "  blessed  Saint  Thomas,"  then  he  might  have  pointed  it 
out ;  the  subject,  not  the  artist,  being  all  tliat  was  required  for 
the  service  of  the  church.  An  incurious  bliss  of  isjnorance  is  no 
less  grateful  to  the  Spanish  mind,  than  the  dotce  far  niente  or 
sweet  indolent  doing  nothing  is  to  the  body.     All  that  gives 

CHAP,  xx.]  A  QUESTION  OF  DAYS.  2S3 

trouble,  or  "  fashes,"  destroys  the  supreme  height  of  felicitj", 
which  consists  in  avoiding  exertion.  A  chapter  might  be  filled 
with  instances,  which,  had  they  not  occurred  to  our  humble 
selves,  would  seem  caricature  inventions.  The  not  to  be  able  to 
answer  the  commonest  question,  or  to  give  any  information  as  to 
matters  of  the  most  ordinary  daily  occurrence,  is  so  prevalent, 
that  we  at  first  thought  it  must  proceed  from  some  fear  of  com- 
mittal, some  remnant  of  inquisitorial  engendered  reserve,  rather 
than  from  bonS,  fide  careless  and  contented  ignorance.  The 
result,  however,  of  much  intercourse  and  experience  arrived  at, 
was,  that  few  people  are  more  communicative  than  the  lower 
classes  of  Spaniards,  especially  to  an  Englishman,  to  whom  they 
reveal  private  and  family  secrets:  tlieir  want  of  knowledge 
applies  rather  to  things  than  to  persons. 

If  you  called  on  a  Spanish  gentleman,  and,  finding  him  out, 
wished  afterwards  to  write  him  a  note,  and  inquired  of  his  man 
or  maid  servant  the  number  of  the  house; — "I  do  not  know,  my 
lord,"  was  the  invariable  answer,  "  I  never  was  asked  it  before,  I 
have  never  looked  for  it :  let  us  go  out  and  see.  Ah  !  it  is 
number  36."  AVishing  once  to  send  a  parcel  by  the  wagon  from 
Merida  to  Madrid,  "  On  what  day,  my  lord,"  said  I  to  the  pot- 
bellied, black-whiskered  ventero,  "  does  your  galera  start  for  the 
Court  ?"  "Every  Wednesday,"  answered  he  ;  "  and  let  not  your 
grace  be  anxious" — ^'•Disparate — nonsense,"  exclaimed  his  copper- 
skinned,  bright-eyed  wife,  "  why  do  you  tell  the  English  knight 
such  lies?  the  wagon,  my  lord,  sets  out  on  Fridays."  During 
the  logomachy,  or  the  few  words  which  ensued  between  the  well- 
matched  pair,  our  good  luck  willed,  that  the  mayoral  or  driver  of 
the  vehicle  should  come  in,  who  forthwith  informed  us  that  the 
days  of  departure  were  Thursdays ;  and  he  was  right.  This 
occurred  in  the  provinces ;  take,  therefore,  a  parallel  passage  in 
the  capital,  the  heart  and  brain  of  the  Castiles.  "  Serior,  tenga 
listed  la  hondad — My  lord,"  said  I  to  a  portly,  pompous 
bureaucrat,  who  booked  places  in  the  dilly  to  Toledo, — "  have 
the  goodness,  your  grace,  to  secure  me  one  for  Monday,  the  Ith." 
— "  I  fear,"  replied  he,  politely,  for  the  negocio  had  been  pru- 
dently opened  by  my  off'ering  him  a  real  Havannah,  "  that  your 
lordship  has  made  a  mistake  in  the  date.  Monday  is  the  8th  of  the 
current  month" — which  it  was  not.  Thinking  to  settle  the  matter, 

284  UNCERTAINTY  OF  SPANISH  THINGS.       [chap,  xx 

we  handed  to  him,  with  a  bow,  tlie  almanack  of  the  year,  which 
chanced  to  be  in  our  pocket-book.  '■'■Senor"  said  he,  gravely, 
when  he  had  duly  examined  it,  "  I  knew  that  I  was  right ;  this 
one  was  printed  at  Seville," — which  it  was — "  and  we  are  here 
at  Madrid,  which  is  otra  cosa,  that  is,  altogether  another  affair." 
In  this  solar  difference  and  pre-eminence  of  the  Court,  it  must  be 
remembered,  that  the  sun,  at  its  creation,  first  shone  over  the 
neighbouring  city,  to  which  the  dilly  ran  ;  and  that  even  in  the 
last  century,  it  was  held  to  be  heresy  at  Salamanca,  to  say  that  it 
did  not  move  round  Spain.  In  sad  truth,  it  has  there  stood  still 
longer  than  in  astronomical  lectures  or  metaphors.  Spain  is  no 
paradise  for  calculators;  here,  what  ought  to  happen,  and  what 
would  happen  elsewhere  according  to  Cocker  and  the  doctrine  pro- 
babilities, is  exactly  the  event  which  is  the  least  likely  to  come  to 
pass.  One  arithmetical  fact  only  can  be  reckoned  upon  with  tole- 
rable certainty  :  let  given  events  be  represented  by  numbers  ;  then 
two  and  two  may  at  one  time  make  three,  or  possibly  five  at  an- 
other ;  but  the  odds  are  four  to  one  against  two  and  two  ever 
making  four  ;  another  safe  rule  in  Spanish  official  numbers ;  e.  g. 
"  five  thousand  men  killed  and  wounded  " — "  five  thousand  dollars 
will  be  given,"  and  so  forth,  is  to  deduct  two  noughts,  and  some- 
times even  three,  and  read  fifty  or  five  instead. 

Well  might  even  the  keen-sighted,  practical  Duke  say  it  is 
difiicult  to  understand  the  Spaniards  exactly ;  there  neither  men 
nor  women,  suns  nor  clocks  go  together ;  there,  as  in  a  Dutch 
concert,  all  choose  their  own  tune  and  time,  each  performer  in  the 
orchestra  endeavouring  to  play  the  first  fiddle.  All  this  is  so 
much  a  matter  of  course,  that  the  natives,  like  the  Irish,  make 
a  joke  of  petty  mistakes,  blunders,  unpunctualities,  inconse- 
quences, and  pococurantisms,  at  which  accurate  Geimans  and 
British  men  of  business  are  driven  frantic.  Made  up  of  contra- 
dictions, and  dwelling  in  the  pays  de  Vimprevu,  where  exception 
is  the  rule,  where  accident  and  the  impulse  of  the  moment  are 
the  moving  powers,  the  happy-go-lucky  natives,  especially  in 
their  collective  capacity,  act  like  women  and  children.  A  spark, 
a  trifle,  sets  the  impressionable  masses  in  action,  and  none  can 
foresee  the  commonest  event ;  nor  does  any  Spaniard  ever 
attempt  to  guess  beyond  la  situacion  actual^  the  actual  present, 
or  to  foretell  what  the  morrow  will  bring  ;  that  he  leaves  to  the 


foreigner,  who  does  not  understand  him.  Paciencia  y  barajar  is 
his  motto ;  and  he  waits  patiently  to  see  what  next  will  turn  up 
after  another  shuffle. 

There  is  one  thing,  however,  which  all  know  exactly,  one 
question  which  all  can  answer ;  and  providentially  this  refers  to 
the  grand  object  of  every  foreigner's  observation — "  When  will 
the  bull-fight  be  and  begin  ?"  and  this  holds  good,  notwithstanding 
that  there  is  a  proviso  inserted  in  the  notices,  that  it  will  come  otf 
on  such  a  day  and  hour,  "  if  the  weather  permits."  Thus,  although 
these  spectacles  take  place  in  summer,  when  for  months  and 
months  rain  and  clouds  are  matters  of  history,  the  cautious 
authorities  doubt  the  blessed  sun  himself,  and  mistrust  the  cer- 
tainty of  his  proceedings,  as  much  as  if  they  were  ir-regulated  by 
a  Castilian  clockmaker. 

286  THE  SPANISH  BULL-FIGHT.  [chap.  xxi. 


Origin  of  the  Bull-fight  or  Festival,  and  its  Eeligious  Character— Fiestas 
Reales — Royal  Feasts — Charles  I.  at  one — Discontinuance  of  the  Old 
System — Sham  Bull-fights — Plaza  de  Toros — Slang  Language — Spanish 
Bulls— Breeds— The  Going  to  a  Bull-fight. 

OnR  honest  John  Bulls  have  long  been  more  partial  to  their 
Spanish  namesakes,  than  even  to  those  perpetrated  by  the  Pope, 
or  made  in  the  Emerald  Isle  ;  to  see  a  bull-fight  has  been  the 
emphatic  object  of  enlightened  curiosity,  since  Peninsular 
sketches  have  been  taken  and  published  by  our  travellers.  No 
sooner  had  Charles  the  First,  when  prince,  lost  his  heart  at 
Madrid,  than  his  royal  father-in-law-that-was-to-be,  regaled  him 
and  the  fair  inspirer  of  his  tender  passion,  with  one  of  these 
charming  spectacles  ;  an  event  which,  as  many  men  and  animals 
were  butchered,  was  thought  by  the  historiographers  of  the  day 
to  be  one  that  posterity  would  not  willingly  let  die  ;  their  con- 
temporary accounts  will  ever  form  the  gems  of  every  tauroma- 
chian  library  that  aspires  to  be  complete. 

These  sports,  which  recall  the  bloody  games  of  the  Roman 
amphitheatre,  are  now  only  to  be  seen  in  Spain,  where  the 
present  clashes  with  tlie  past,  where  at  every  moment  we  stumble 
on  some  bone  and  relic  of  Biblical  and  Roman  antiquity ;  the 
close  parallels,  nay  the  identities,  which  are  observable  between 
these  combats  and  those  of  classical  ages,  both  as  regards  the 
spectators  and  actors,  are  omitted,  as  being  more  interesting  to 
the  scholar  than  to  the  general  reader ;  they  were  pointed  out  by 
us  some  years  ago  in  the  Quarterly  Review,  No.  cxxiv.  And 
as  human  nature  changes  not,  men  when  placed  in  given  and 
similar  circumstances,  will  without  any  previous  knowledge  or 
intercommunication  arrive  at  nearly  similar  results;  the  gentle 
pastime  of  spearing  and  killing  bulls  in  public  and  single-handed 
was  probably  devised  by  the  Moors,  or  rather  by  tlie  Spanish 
Moors,  for  nothing  of  the  kind  has  ever  obtained  in  Africa 


either  now  or  heretofore.  The  Moslem  Arab,  when  transplanted 
into  a  Christian  and  European  land,  modified  himself  in  many 
respects  to  the  ways  and  usages  of  the  people  among  whom  he 
settled,  just  as  his  Oriental  element  was  widely  introduced 
among  his  Gotho-Hispano  neighbours.  Moorish  Andalucia  is 
still  the  head -quarters  of  the  tauromachian  art,  and  those  who 
wish  carefully  to  master  this,  the  science  of  Spain  par  excellence, 
should  commence  tlieir  studies  in  the  school  of  Eonda,  and 
proceed  thence  to  take  the  highest  honours  in  the  University  of 
Seville,  the  Bullford  of  the  Peninsula. 

By  the  way,  our  boxing,  baiting  term  h\\\}i-fight  is  a  very  lay 
and  low  translation  of  the  time-honoured  Castilian  title,  Fiestas  de 
To7-os,  the  feasts,  festivals  of  bulls.  The  gods  and  goddesses  of 
antiquity  were  conciliated  by  the  sacrifice  of  hecatombs  ;  the 
lowing  tickled  their  divine  ears,  and  the  purple  blood  fed  their 
eyes,  no  less  than  the  roasted  sii-loins  fattened  the  priests,  while 
the  grand  spectacle  and  death  delighted  their  dinnerless  congre- 
gations. In  Spain,  the  Church  of  Rome,  never  indifferent  to  its 
interests,  instantly  marshalled  into  its  own  service  a  ceremonial 
at  once  profitable  and  popular  ;*  it  consecrated  butchery  by 
wedding  it  to  the  altar,  availing  itself  of  this  gentle  handmaid, 
to  obtain  funds  in  order  to  raise  convents  ;  even  in  the  last  century 
Papal  bulls  were  granted  to  mendicant  orders,  authorising  them 
to  celebrate  a  certain  number  of  Fiestas  de  Tows,  on  condition 
of  devoting  the  profit  to  finishing  their  church  ;  and  in  order  to 
swell  the  receipts  at  the  doors,  spiritual  indulgences  and  soul 
releases  from  purgatory,  the  number  of  years  being  apportioned  to 
the  relative  prices  of  the  seats,  were  added  as  a  bonus  to  all  paid 
for  places  at  a  spectacle  hallowed  by  a  pious  object.  So  at  the 
taurobolia  of  antiquity,  those  who  were  sprinkled  with  bull 
blood  were  absolved  from  sin.  Protestant  ministers,  who  very 
properly  fear  and  distrust  papal  bulls,  replace  them  by  bazaars 
and  fancy  fairs,  whenever  a  fashionable  chapel  requires  a  new 
blue  slate  roofing.     Again,  when  not  devoted  to  religious  pur- 

*  The  love  for  killing  oxen  still  prevails  at  Rome,  where  the  ambition  of 
the  lower  orders  to  be  a  butcher,  is,  like  their  white  costume,  a  remnant  of 
the  honourable  office  of  killing  at  the  Pagan  sacrifices.  In  Spain  tmtchers 
are  of  the  lowest  caste,  and  cannot  prove  "  purity  of  blood."  Francis  I. 
never  forgave  the  "  Becajo  de  Parigi"  applied  by  Daute  to  his  ancestor. 

288  FIESTAS  REALES.  [chap.  xxi. 

poses,  every  bull-fight  aids  the  cause  of  charity  ;  the  profits  form 
the  chief  income  of  the  public  hospitals,  and  thus  furnish  both 
funds  and  patients,  as  tlie  venous  circulation  of  the  mob  thirsting 
for  gore,  rises  to  blood  heat  under  a  sun  of  fire,  and  the  subsequent 
mingling  of  sexes,  opening  of  bottles  and  knives,  occasion  more 
deaths  among  the  lords  and  ladies  of  the  Spanish  creation,  than 
among  the  horned  and  hoofed  victims  of  the  ampliitheatre. 

It  is  a  common  but  very  great  mistake,  to  suppose  that  bull- 
fights are  as  numerous  in  Spain  as  bandits ;  it  is  just  the  con- 
trary, for  this  may  there  be  considered  the  tip-top  aesthetic  treat, 
as  the  Italian  Opera  is  in  England,  and  both  are  rather  expensive 
amusements;  true  it  is  that  with  us,  only  the  salt  of  the  earth 
patronises  the  performers  of  the  Haymarket,  while  high  and  low, 
vulgar  and  exquisite,  alike  delight  in  those  of  the  Spanish  fields. 
Each  bull-fight  costs  from  200/.  to  300/.,  and  even  more  when  got 
up  out  of  Andalucia  or  Madrid,  which  alone  can  aflTord  to  support 
a  standing  company  ;  in  other  cities  the  actors  and  animals  have 
to  be  sent  for  express,  and  from  great  distances.  Hence  the 
representations  occur  like  angels'  visits,  few  and  far  between ; 
thev  are  reserved  for  tlie  chief  festivals  of  the  church  and  crown, 
for  the  unfeigned  devotion  of  the  faithful  on  the  holy  days  of 
local  saints,  and  the  Virgin  ;  they  are  also  given  at  the  mar- 
riages and  coronations  of  the  sovereign,  and  thence  are  called 
Fiestas  reales.  Royal  festivals — the  ceremonial  being  then  de- 
prived of  its  religious  character,  although  it  is  much  increased 
in  worldly  and  imposing  importance.  The  sight  is  indeed  one 
of  surpassing  pomp,  etiquette,  and  magnificence,  and  has  suc- 
ceeded to  the  Auto  de  Fe^  in  offering  to  the  most  Catholic  Queen 
and  her  subjects  the  greatest  possible  means  of  tasting  rapture, 
that  the  limited  powers  of  mortal  enjoyment  can  experience  in 
this  world  of  shadows  and  sorrows. 

They  are  only  given  at  Madrid,  and  then  are  conducted  en- 
tirely after  the  ancient  Spanish  and  Moorish  customs,  of  which 
such  splendid  descriptions  remain  in  the  ballad  romances.  Thev 
take  place  in  the  great  square  of  the  capital,  which  is  then  con- 
verted into  an  arena.  Tlie  windows  of  the  quaint  and  lofty 
houses  are  arranged  as  boxes,  and  hung  with  velvets  and  silks. 
The  royal  family  is  seated  under  a  canopy  of  state  in  the  balcony 
of  the  central  mansion.     There  we  beheld  Ferdinand  VII.  pre- 


siding  at  the  solemn  swearing  of  allegiance  to  his  daughter.  He 
was  then  seated  where  Charles  I.  had  sat  two  centuries  before  ; 
he  was  guarded  by  the  unchanged  halberdiers,  and  was  witnessing 
the  unchanged  spectacle.  On  these  royal  occasions  the  bulls  are 
assailed  by  gentlemen,  dressed  and  armed  as  in  good  old  Spanish 
times,  before  the  fatal  Bourbon  accession  obliterated  Castilian 
costume,  customs,  and  nationality.  The  champions,  clad  in  the 
fashions  of  the  Philips,  and  mounted  on  beauteous  barbs,  the 
minions  of  their  race,  attack  the  fierce  animal  with  only  a  short 
spear,  the  immemorial  weapon  of  the  Iberian.  The  combatants 
must  be  hidalgos  by  birth,  and  have  each  for  a  padrino,  or  god- 
father, a  first-rate  grandee  of  Spain,  who  passes  before  royalty  in 
a  splendid  equipage  and  six,  and  is  attended  by  bands  of  running 
footmen,  who  are  arrayed  either  as  Greeks,  Romans,  Moors,  or 
fancy  characters.  It  is  not  easy  to  obtain  these  caballeros  en 
plaza,  or  poor  knights,  who  are  willing  to  expose  their  lives  to 
the  imminent  dangers,  albeit  during  the  fight  they  have  the 
benefit  of  experienced  toreros  to  advise  their  actions  and  cover 
their  retreats. 

In  1833  a  gentle  dame,  without  the  privity  of  her  lord  and 
husband,  inscribed  his  name  as  one  of  the  champion  volunteers. 
In  procuring  him  this  agreeable  surprise,  she,  so  it  was  said  in 
Madrid,  argued  thus:  ^^  YAihev  mi marido  wiW  be  killed — in  that 
case  I  shall  get  a  new  husband  ;  or  he  will  survive,  in  which  event 
he  will  get  a  pension."  She  failed  in  both  of  these  admirable  cal- 
culations— such  is  tlie  uncertainty  of  human  events.  The  terror 
of  this  poor  h'eros  malgre  lui,  on  whom  chivalry  had  been  thrust, 
was  absolutely  ludicrous  when  exposed  by  his  well-intentioned 
better-half,  to  the  horns  of  this  dilemma  and  bull.  Any  other 
horns,  my  dearest,  but  these  !  He  was  wounded  at  tiie  first 
rush,  did  survive,  and  did  not  ^et  a  pension  ;  for  Ferdinand 
died  soon  after,  and  few  pensions  have  been  paid  in  the  Penin- 
sula, since  the  land  has  been  blessed  witli  a  charte,  constitution, 
liberty,  and  a  representative  government. 

One  anecdote,  where  another  lady  is  in  the  case,  may  be  new 
to  our  fair  readers.  We  quote  from  an  ancient  autlientic 
chronicler : — "  It  will  not  be  amiss  here  to  mention  wliat  fell 
out  in  the  presence  of  Charles  the  First  of  Blessed  Memory,  who, 
while  Prince  of  Wales,  repaired  to  the  court  of  Spain,  whether 

290  CHAELES  I.  AT  A  BULL-FIGHT.  [chap.  xxi. 

to  be  married  to  the  Infanta,  or  upon  what  other  design,  I  cannot 
well  determine  :  liowever,  all  comedies,  playes,  and  festivals  (this 
of  the  bulls  at  Madrid  being  included),  were  appointed  to  be  as 
decently  and  magnificently  gone  about  as  possible,  for  the  more 
sumptuous  and  stately  entertainment  of  such  a  splendid  prince. 
Therefore,  after  three  bulls  had  been  killed,  and  the  fourth  a 
coming  forth,  there  appeared  four  gentlemen  in  good  equipage  ; 
not  long  after,  a  brisk  lady,  in  most  gorgeous  apparel,  attended 
with  persons  of  quality,  and  some  three  or  four  grooms,  walked 
all  along  the  square  a-foot.  Astonishment  seized  upon  the  be- 
holders, that  one  of  the  female  sex  could  assume  the  unheard 
boldness  of  exposing  herself  to  the  violence  of  the  most  furious 
beast  yet  seen,  which  had  overcome,  yea  almost  killed,  two  men 
of  great  strength,  courage,  and  dexterity.  Incontinently  the 
bull  rushed  towards  the  corner  where  the  lady  and  her  attendants 
stood ;  she  (after  all  had  fled)  drew  forth  her  dagger  very  un- 
concernedly, and  thrust  it  most  dexterously  into  the  bull's  neck, 
having  catched  hold  of  his  horn  ;  by  which  stroak,  without 
any  more  troidole,  her  design  was  brought  to  perfection  ;  after 
which,  turning  about  towards  the  king's  balcony,  slie  made 
her  obeysance,  and  vt'ithdrew  herself  in  suitable  state  and 

At  the  jura  of  1833  ninety-nine  bulls  were  massacred  ;  had 
one  more  been  added  the  hecatomb  would  have  been  complete. 
These  wholesale  slaughterings  have  this  year  been  repeated  at 
the  marriage  of  the  same  "  innocent  "  Isabel,  the  critical  events 
of  whose  life  are  death-warrants  to  quadrupeds.  Bulls,  however, 
represent  in  Spain  the  coronation  banquets  of  England.  In  that 
hungry,  ascetic  land,  bulls  have  always  been  killed,  but  no  beef 
eaten  ;  a  remarkable  fact,  which  did  not  escape  tlie  learned 
Justin  in  his  remarks  on  the  no-dinner-giving  crowned  heads  of 
old  Iberia. 

These  genuine  ancient  bull-fights  were  perilous  and  fatal  in 
the  extreme,  yet  knights  were  never  wanting — valour  being  the 
point  of  honour — who  readily  exposed  their  lives  in  sight  of  their 
cruel  mistresses.  To  kill  the  monster  if  not  killed  by  him,  was, 
before  the  time  of  Hudibras,  the  sure  road  to  women's  love,  who 
very  properly  admire  those  qualities  the  best,  in  which  they  feel 
themselves  to  be  the  most  deficient : — 


"  The  ladies'  hearts  began  to  melt, 
Subdued  by  blows  their  lovers  felt ; 
So  Spanish  heroes,  with  their  lances, 
At  once  wound  bulls  and  ladies'  fancies." 

The  final  conquest  of  the  Moors,  and  the  subsequent  cessation 
of  the  border  chivalrous  habits  of  Spaniards,  occasioned  these 
love-pastimes  to  fall  into  comparative  disuse.  The  gentle  Isa- 
bella was  so  shocked  at  the  bull-fights  which  she  saw  at  Medina 
del  Campo,  that  she  did  her  utmost  to  put  them  down ;  but  she 
strove  in  vain,  for  the  game  and  monarchy  were  destined  to  fall 
together.  The  accession  of  Philip  V.  deluged  the  Peninsula 
with  Frenchmen.  The  puppies  of  Paris  pronounced  the  Spa- 
niards and  their  bulls  to  be  barbarous  and  brutal,  as  their  artistes 
to  this  day  prefer  the  bcetif  gras  of  the  Boulevards  to  whole  flocks 
of  Iberian  lean  kine.  The  spectacle  which  had  withstood  her 
influence,  and  had  beat  the  bulls  of  Popes,  bowed  before  the  des- 
potism of  fashion.  The  periwigged  courtiers  deserted  the  arena, 
on  which  the  royal  Bourbon  eye  looked  coldly,  wliile  the  sturdy 
people,  foes — then  as  now — to  Frenchmen  and  innovations, 
clung  closer  to  the  sports  of  their  forefathers.  Yet  a  fatal  blow 
was  dealt  to  the  combat :  the  art,  once  practised  by  knights, 
degenerated  into  the  vulgar  butchery  of  mercenary  bull-fighters, 
who  contended  not  for  honour,  but  base  lucre  ;  thus,  by  be- 
coming the  game  of  the  mob,  it  was  soon  stripped  of  every 
gentlemanlike  prestige.  So  the  tournament  challenges  of  our 
chivalrous  ancestors  have  sunk  down  to  the  vul2:ar  boxing's  of 
ruffian  pugilists. 

Baiting  a  bull  in  any  shape  is  irresistible  to  the  lower  orders 
of  Spain,  who  disregard  injuries  to  tlie  bodies,  and,  what  is 
worse,  to  their  cloaks.  The  liostility  to  the  horned  beast  is  in- 
stinctive, and  grows  with  their  growth,  until  it  becomes,  as  men 
are  but  children  of  a  larger  growth,  a  second  nature.  The 
young  urchins  in  the  streets  play  at  "  toro"  as  ours  do  at  leap- 
frog ;  they  go  through  the  whole  mimic  spectacle  amongst  each 
otiier,  observing  every  law  and  rule,  as  our  schoolboys  do  when 
they  fight.  Few  adult  Spaniards,  when  journeying  thi'ough 
the  country,  ever  pass  a  herd  of  cows  without  this  dormant  pro- 
pensity breaking  out ;  they  provoke  the  animals  to  fight  by 
waving  their  cloaks  or  capas^  a  challenge  hence  called  el  capeo. 

292  CRAVING  FOR  BULLS  AND  BREAD.       [chap.  xxi. 

The  villagers,  who  cannot  afford  the  expense  of  a  regular  bull- 
fight, amuse  themselves  with  baiting  novillos,  or  bull-youngsters 
— calves  of  one  year  old  ;  and  embolados,  or  bulls  whose  horns 
are  guarded  with  tips  and  buttons.  These  innocent  pastimes  are 
despised  by  the  regular  qficion,  the  "  fancy ; "  because,  as  nei- 
ther man  nor  beast  are  exposed  to  be  killed,  the  whole  affair  is 
based  in  fiction,  and  impotent  in  conclusion.  They  cry  out  for 
Toros  de  muerte — bulls  oi  death.  Nothing  short  of  the  reality 
of  blood  can  allay  their  excitement.  They  despise  the  makeshift 
spectacle,  as  much  as  a  true  gastronome  does  mock-turtle,  or  an 
old  campaigner  a  sham  fight. 

In  the  wilder  districts  of  Andalucia  few  cattle  are  ever  brought 
into  towns  for  slaughter,  unless  led  by  long  ropes,  and  partially 
baited  by  those  whose  poverty  prevents  their  indulgence  in  the 
luxury  of  real  bull-fights  and  beef.  The  governor  of  Tarifa  was 
wont  on  certain  days  to  let  a  bull  loose  into  the  streets,  when  the 
delight  of  the  inhabitants  was  to  shut  their  doors,  and  behold  from 
their  grated  windovrs  the  perplexities  of  the  unwary  or  strangers, 
pursued  by  him  in  the  narrow  lanes  without  means  of  escape. 
Although  many  lives  were  lost,  a  governor  in  our  time,  named 
Dalmau,  otherwise  a  public  benefactor  to  the  place,  lost  all  his 
popularity  in  the  vain  attempt  to  put  the  custom  down.  When 
the  Bourbon  Philip  V.  first  visited  the  pla^a  at  Madrid,  all  the 
populace  roared.  Bulls !  give  us  bulls,  my  lord.  They  cared  little 
for  the  ruin  of  the  monarchy ;  so  when  the  intrusive  Joseph  Buona- 
parte arrived  at  the  same  place,  the  only  and  absorbing  topic  of 
public  talk  was  whether  he  would  grant  or  suppress  the  bull- 
figlit.  And  now,  as  always,  the  cry  of  the  capital  is — "  Pan  y 
toros;  bread  and  bulls:"  these  constitute  the  loaves  and  fishes  of 
the  "  only  modern  court,"  as  Panes  et  Circenses  did  of  ancient 
Rome.  The  national  scowl  and  frown  which  welcomed  Mont- 
pensier  at  his  marriage,  was  relaxed  for  one  moment,  when 
Spaniards  beheld  his  well-put-on  admiration  for  the  tauroma- 
chian  spectacle.  Nothing,  since  the  recent  vast  improvements  in 
Spain,  has  more  progressed  than  the  bull-fight — convents  have 
come  down,  cluirches  have  been  levelled,  but  new  amphitheatres 
have  arisen.  The  diffusion  of  useful  and  entertaining  knowledge, 
as  the  means  of  promoting  the  greatest  happiness  of  the  greatest 
number,  has  thus  obtained  the  best  consideration  of  those  patriots 


and  statesmen  who  preside  over  the  destinies  of  Spain  ;  the  bull  is 
master  of  his  ground.  This  last  remnant  and  representative  of 
Spanish  nationality  defies  the  foreigner  and  his  civilization  ;  he 
is  a,  fait  accompli,  and  tramples  la  charte  under  his  feet,  althougli 
the  honest  Roi  citoyen  swears  that  it  is  desorraais  une  ve'rite. 

In  Spain  there  is  no  mistaking  the  day  and  time  that  the  bull- 
fight takes  place,  which  is  generally  on  Saint  Monday,  and  in  the 
afternoon,  when  the  mid-day  heats  are  past. 

The  arena,  or  Plaza,  is  most  unlike  a  London  Place,  those 
enclosures  of  stunted  smoke-blacked  shrubs,  fenced  in  with  iron 
palisadoes  to  protect  aristocratic  nurserymaids  from  the  mob. 
It  is  at  once  more  classical  and  amusing.     The  amphitheatre  of 
Madrid  is  very  spacious,  being  about  1100  feet  in  circumference, 
and  will  hold  12,000  spectators.     In  an  architectural  point  of 
view  this  ring  of  the  model  court,  is  shabbier  than  many  of  those  in 
provincial  towns :  there  is  no  attempt  at  orders,  pilasters,  and 
Vitruvian  columns ;  there  is  no  adaptation  of  the  Coliseum  of 
Rome  :  the  exterior  is  bald  and  plain,  as  if  done  so  on  purpose, 
while   the   interior  is  fitted  up  with  wooden  benches,   and   is 
scarcely  better  than  a  shambles  ;  but  for  that  it  was  designed, 
and  there  is  a  business-like,  murderous  intention  about  it,  which 
marks  the  ingesthetic  Gotho-Spaniard,  who  looked  for  a  sport  of 
blood  and  death,  and  not  to  a  display  of  artistical  skill.     He  has 
no   need   of  extraneous    stimulants ;    the   realite   atroce,   as   a 
tender-hearted  foreigner  observes,   "  is  all-sufficing,  because  it 
is  the  recreation  of  the  savage,  and  the  sublime  of  common  souls." 
The  locality,  however,  is  admirably  calculated  for  seeing  ;  and  this 
combat  is  a  spectacle  entirely  for  the  eyes.     The  open  space  is 
full  of  the  light  of  heaven,  and  here  the  sun  is  brighter  than  gas 
or  wax-candles.     The  interior  is  as  unadorned  as  the  exterior, 
and  looks  positively  "  mesquin  "  when  empty  ;  around  the  sanded 
centre  rise  rows  of  wooden  seats  for  the  humbler  classes,  and 
above  them  a  tier  of  boxes  for  the  fine  ladies  and  gentlemen  ; 
but  no  sooner  is  the  theatre  filled  than  all  this  meanness  is  con- 
cealed, and  the  general  appearance  becomes  superb. 

On  entering  the  ring  when  thus  full,  the  stranger  finds  his  watch 
put  back  at  once  eighteen  hundred  years  ;  he  is  transported  to 
Rome  under  the  Caesars  ;  and  in  truth  the  sight  is  glorious,  of  the 
assembled  thousands  in  their  Spanish  costume,  the  novelty  of 

294  BULL-FIGHT  SLAJNCi.  [chap,  xxi. 

the  spectacle,  associated  with  our  earliest  classical  studies,  are 
enhanced  by  the  blue  expanse  of  the  heavens,  spread  above  as  a 
canopy.  There  is  something  in  these  out-of-door  entertainments, 
a  Vardique,  which  peculiarly  affects  the  shivering  denizens  of  the 
catch-cold  north,  where  climate  contributes  so  little  to  the  hap- 
piness of  man.  All  first-rate  connoisseurs  go  into  the  pit  and 
place  themselves  among  the  mob,  in  order  to  be  closer  to  the 
bulls  and  combatants.  The  real  thing  is  to  sit  near  one  of  the 
openings,  which  enables  the  fancy-man  to  exhibit  his  embroi- 
dered gaiters  and  neat  leg.  It  is  here  that  the  character  of  the 
bull,  the  nice  traits  and  the  behaviour  of  the  bull-fighter  are 
scientifically  criticised.  The  ring  has  a  dialect  peculiar  to  itself, 
which  is  unintelligible  to  most  Spaniards  themselves,  while  to 
the  sporting-men  of  Andalucia  it  expresses  their  drolleries  with 
idiomatic  raciness,  and  is  exactly  analogous  to  the  slang  and 
technicalities  of  our  pugilistic  craft.  The  newspapers  next  day 
generally  give  a  detailed  report  of  the  fight,  in  which  every  round 
is  scientifically  described  in  a  style  that  defies  translation,  but 
which  being  drawn  up  by  some  Spanish  Boz,  is  most  delectable  to 
all  who  can  understand  it ;  the  nomenclature  of  praise  and  blame 
is  defined  with  the  most  accurate  precision  of  language,  and  the 
delicate  shades  of  character  are  distinguished  with  the  nicety  of 
phrenological  subdivision.  The  foundation  of  this  lingo  is 
gipsy  Romany,  metaphor,  and  double  entendre  ;  to  master  it  is 
no  easy  matter  ;  indeed,  a  distinguished  diplomat  and  tauro- 
machian  philologist,  whom  we  are  proud  to  call  our  friend, 
v.-as  often  unable  to  comprehend  the  full  pregnancy  of  the 
meaning  of  certain  terms,  without  a  reference  to  the  late  Duke 
of  San  Lorenzo,  who  sustained  the  character  of  Spanish  ambas- 
sador in  London  and  of  bull-fighter  in  Madrid  with  equal  dignity  ; 
his  grace  was  a  living  lexicon  of  slang.  Yet  let  no  student  be 
deterred  by  any  difficulty,  since  he  will  eventually  be  repaid, 
when  he  can  fully  relish  the  Andalucian  wit,  or  sal  Andaluga, 
the  salt,  with  which  the  reports  are  flavoured  :  that  it  is  seldom 
Attic  must,  however,  be  confessed.  Nor  let  time  or  pains  be 
grudged  ;  there  is  no  royal  road  to  Euclid,  and  life,  say  the 
Spanish  fancy,  is  too  short  to  learn  bull-fighting.  This  possibly 
may  seem  strange,  but  P^ngli^h  squires  and  country  gentlemen 
assert  as  much  in  regard  to  fox-hunting. 


The  day  appointed  for  a  bull-feast  is  announced  by  placards 
of  all  colours ;  the  important  particulars  decorate  every  wall. 
The  first  thing  is  to  secure  a  good  place  beforehand,  by  sending 
for  a  Boletin  de  Sombra,  a  shade-ticket ;  and  as  the  great  object 
is  to  avoid  glare  and  heat,  the  best  places  are  on  the  northern 
side,  which  are  in  the  shade.  The  transit  of  the  sun  over  the 
Plaza,  the  zodiacal  progress  into  Taurus,  is  decidedly  the  best 
calculated  astronomical  observation  in  Spain ;  the  line  of  shadow 
defined  on  the  arena  is  marked  by  a  gradation  of  prices.  The 
different  seats  and  prices  are  everywhere  detailed  in  the  bills  of 
the  play,  with  the  names  of  the  combatants  and  the  colours  of 
the  different  breeds  of  bulls. 

The  day  before  the  fight,  the  bulls  destined  for  the  spectacle 
are  driven  towards  the  town,  and  pastured  in  a  meadow  reserved 
for  their  reception  ;  then  the  fine  amateurs  never  fail  to  ride  out 
to  see  what  the  cattle  is  like,  just  as  the  knowing  in  horseflesh 
go  to  Tattersall's  of  a  Sunday  afternoon,  instead  of  attending 
evening  service  in  their  parish  churches.  According  to  Pepe 
lUo,  who  was  a  very  practical  man,  and  the  first  author  on  the 
modern  system  of  the  arena,  of  which  he  was  the-  briglitest  orna- 
ment, and  on  which  he  died  in  the  arms  of  victory,  the  "love 
of  bulls  is  inherent  in  man,  especially  in  the  Spaniard,  among 
which  glorious  people  there  have  been  bull-fights  ever  since 
there  were  bulls,  because  the  Spanish  men  are  as  much  more 
brave  than  all  other  men,  as  the  Spanish  bull  is  more  fierce  and 
valiant  than  all  other  bulls."  Certainly,  from  having  been  bred 
at  large,  in  roomy  unenclosed  plains,  they  are  more  active  than 
the  animals  raised  by  John  Bull,  but  ag  regards  form  and  power 
they  would  be  scouted  in  an  English  cattle- show ;  a  real  British 
bull,  with  his  broad  neck  and  short  horns,  would  make  quick  work 
with  tlie  men  and  horses  of  Spain  ;  his  "  spears  "  would  be  no  less 
efl"ective  than  the  bayonets  of  our  soldiers,  wliich  no  foreigner 
faces  twice,  or  the  picks  of  our  Navvies,  three  and  three-eighths 
of  whom  are  calculated  by  railway  economists  to  eat  more  beef 
and  do  more  work  tlian  five  and  five-eighths  of  corresponding 
foreign  material.  By  the  way,  the  correct  Castilian  word  for  the 
bull's  horns  is  astcis,  the  Latin  hastas,  spears.  Cuernos  must 
never  be  used  in  good  Spanisli  society,  since,  from  its  secondary 
meaning,  it  might  give  offence  to  present  company :  allusions 


296  BEST  BREED  OF  BULLS.  [chap.  xxi. 

to  common  calamities  are  never  made  to  ears  polite,  however 
frequent  among  the  vulgar,  who  call  things  by  their  improper 
names — nay,  roar  them  out,  as  in  the  time  of  Horace  :  "  Magna 
compellens  voce  cucullura." 

Not  every  bull  will  do  for  the  Plaza,  and  none  but  the  fiercest 
are  selected,  who  undergo  trials  from  the  earliest  youth ;  the 
most  celebrated  animals  come  from  Utrera  near  Seville,  and  from 
the  same  pastures  where  that  eminent  breeder  of  old  Geryon, 
raised  those  wonderful  oxen,  which  all  but  burst  with  fat  in  fifty 
days,  and  were  "  lifted "  by  the  invincible  Hercules.  Senor 
Cabrera,  the  modern  Geryon,  was  so  pleased  with  Joseph  Buona- 
parte, or  so  afraid,  that  he  offered  to  him  a  hundred  bulls,  as  a 
Jiecatomb  for  the  rations  of  his  troops,  who,  braver  and  hungrier 
than  Hercules,  would  otherwise  have  infallibly  followed  the 
demigod's  example.  The  Manchegan  bull,  small,  very  powerful, 
and  active,  is  considered  to  be  the  original  stock  of  Spain  ; 
of  this  breed  was  "  Manchangito,"  the  pet  of  the  Visconde  de 
jNLiranda,  a  tauromachian  noble  of  Cordova,  and  who  used  to 
come  into  the  dining-room,  but,  having  one  day  killed  a  guest,  he 
was  destroyed  after  violent  resistance  on  the  part  of  the  Viscount, 
and  only  in  obedience  to  the  peremptory  mandate  of  the  Prince 
of  the  Peace. 

The  capital  is  supplied  with  animals  bred  in  the  valleys  of  the 
Jarama  near  Aranjuez,  which  have  been  immemorially  cele- 
brated. From  hence  came  that  Harpado,  the  magnificent  beast 
of  the  magnificent  Moorish  ballad  of  Gazul,  which  was  evidently 
written  by  a  practical  torero,  and  on  the  spot :  the  verses  sparkle 
with  daylight  and  local  colour  like  a  Velazquez,  and  are  as  mi- 
nutely correct  as  a  Paul  Potter,  while  Byron's  "  Bull-fight"  is 
the  invention  of  a  foreign  poet,  and  full  of  slight  inaccuracies. 

The  encierro,  or  the  driving  the  bulls  to  the  arena,  is  a  service 
of  danger ;  they  are  enticed  by  tame  oxen,  into  a  road  which 
is  barricadoed  on  each  side,  and  then  driven  full  speed  by  the 
mounted  and  spear-bearing  peasants  into  the  Plaza.  It  is  an 
exciting,  peculiar,  and  picturesque  spectacle ;  and  the  poor  who 
cannot  afford  to  go  to  the  bull-fight,  risk  their  lives  and  cloaks 
in  order  to  get  the  front  places,  and  best  chance  of  a  stray  poke 
en  passant. 

The  next  afternoon  all  the  world  crowds  to  the  Plaza  de  toroi 


You  need  not  ask  the  way  ;  just  launch  into  the  tide,  which  in 
these  Spanish  affairs  will  assuredly  carry  you  away.  Nothing 
can  exceed  the  gaiety  and  sparkle  of  a  Spanish  public  going,  eager 
and  full-dressed,  to  the  fight.  They  could  not  move  faster  were 
they  running  away  from  a  real  one.  All  the  streets  or  open 
spaces  near  the  outside  of  the  arena  present  of  themselves  a  spec- 
tacle to  the  stranger,  and  genuine  Spain  is  far  better  to  be  seen 
and  studied  in  the  streets,  than  in  the  saloon.  Now  indeed  a  tra- 
veller from  Belgravia  feels  that  he  is  out  of  town,  in  a  new  worll 
and  no  mistake ;  all  around  him  is  a  perfect  saturnalia,  all  ranks 
are  fused  in  one  stream  of  living  beings,  one  bloody  though 
beats  in  every  heart,  one  heart  beats  in  ten  thousand  bosoms ; 
every  other  business  is  at  an  end,  the  lover  leaves  his  mistress 
unless  she  will  go  with  him, — the  doctor  and  lawyer  renounce  pa- 
tients, briefs,  and  fees ;  the  city  of  sleepers  is  awakened,  and  all  is 
life,  noise,  and  movement,  where  to-morrow  will  be  the  stillness 
and  silence  of  death  ;  now  the  bending  line  of  the  Calle  de  Alcald, 
which  on  other  days  is  broad  and  dull  as  Portland  Place,  becomes 
the  aorta  of  Madrid,  and  is  scarcely  wide  enough  for  the  increased 
circulation ;  now  it  is  filled  with  a  dense  mass  coloured  as  the 
rainbow,  which  winds  along  like  a  spotted  snake  to  its  prey. 
Oh  the  din  and  dust !  The  merry  mob  is  everything,  and,  like 
the  Greek  chorus,  is  always  on  the  scene.  How  national  and 
Spanish  are  the  dresses  of  the  lower  classes — for  their  betters  alone 
appear  like  Boulevard  quizzes,  or  tigers  cut  out  from  our  East  end 
tailors'  pattern-book  of  the  last  new  fashion  ;  what  Manolas,  what 
reds  and  yellows,  what  fringes  and  flounces,  what  swarms  of  pic- 
turesque vagabonds,  cluster,  or  alas,  clustered,  around  calesas, 
whose  wild  drivers  run  on  foot,  whipping,  screaming,  swearing ; 
the  type  of  these  vehicles  in  form  and  colour  was  Neapolitan ; 
they  alas  !  are  also  soon  destined  to  be  sacrificed  to  civilization 
to  the  'bus  and  common-place  cab,  or  vile  fly. 

The  plaza  is  the  focus  of  a  fire,  which  blood  alone  can  extin- 
guish ;  what  public  meetings  and  dinners  are  to  Britons,  reviews 
and  razzias  to  Gauls,  mass  or  music  to  Italians,  is  this  one  and 
absorbing  bull-fight  to  Spaniards  of  all  ranks,  sexes,  ages,  for  their 
happiness  is  quite  catching ;  and  yet  a  thorn  peeps  amid  these 
rosebuds;  when  the  dazzling  glare  and  fierce  African  sun  cal- 
cininjj  the  heavens  and  earth,  fires  up  man  and  beast  to  madness, 

298  FILLING  THE  THEATRE.  [chap.  xxi. 

a  raging  thirst  for  blood  is  seen  in  flashing  eyes  and  the  irritable 
ready  knife,  then  the  passion  of  the  Arab  triumphs  over  the 
coldness  of  the  Goth  :  the  excitement  would  be  terrific  were  it 
not  on  pleasure  bent;  indeed  there  is  no  sacrifice,  even  of  chas- 
tity, no  denial,  even  of  dinner,  which  they  will  not  undergo  to 
save  money  for  the  bull-fight.  It  is  the  birdlime  with  which  the 
devil  catches  many  a  female  and  male  soul.  The  men  go  in  all 
their  best  costume  and  majo-^ncYj  :  the  distinguished  ladies  wear 
on  these  occasions  white  lace  mantillas,  and  when  heated,  look, 
us  the  Andaluz  wag  Adrian  said,  like  sausages  wrapped  up  in 
white  paper  ;  a  fan,  abanico,  is  quite  as  necessary  to  all  as  it  was 
among  the  Romans.  The  article  is  sold  outside  for  a  trifle,  and  is 
made  of  rude  paper,  stuck  into  a  handle  of  common  cane  or  stick, 
and  the  gift  of  one  to  his  nutbrown  querida  is  thought  a  delicate 
attention  to  her  complexion  from  her  swarthy  swain  ;  at  the  same 
time  the  lower  Salamander  classes  stand  fire  much  better  on  these 
occasions  than  in  action,  and  would  rather  be  roasted  lanless 
alive  a  la  auto  de  fe  than  miss  these  hot  engagements. 

The  place  of  slaughter,  like  the  Abattoirs  on  the  Continent, 
is  erected  outside  the  towns,  in  order  to  obtain  space,  and  because 
horned  animals  when  over  driven  in  crowded  streets  are  apt  to 
be  ill-mannered,  as  may  be  seen  every  Smithfield  market-day  in 
the  City,  as  the  Lord  Mayor  well  knows. 

The  seats  occupied  by  the  mob  are  filled  more  rapidly  than 
our  shilling  galleries,  and  the  "  gods"  are  equally  noisy  and  im- 
patient. The  anxiety  of  the  immortals,  wishes  to  annihilate 
time  and  space  and  make  bull-fanciers  happy.  Now  his  majesty 
the  many  reigns  triumphantly,  and  this — church  excepted — is  the 
only  public  meeting  allowed  ;  but  even  here,  as  on  the  Continent, 
the  odious  bayonet  sparkles,  and  the  soldier  picket  announces 
that  innocent  amusements  are  not  free  ;  treason  and  stratagem  are 
suspected  by  coward  despots,  when  one  sole  thought  of  pleasure 
engrosses  every  one  else.  All  ranks  are  now  fused  into  one  mass 
of  homogeneous  humanity  ;  their  good  humour  is  contagious  ;  all 
leave  their  cares  and  sorrows  at  home,  and  enter  with  a  gaiety  of 
heart  and  a  determination  to  be  amused,  which  defies  wrinkled 
care ;  many  and  not  over-delicate  are  the  quips  and  quirks  ban- 
died to  and  fro,  with  an  eloquence  more  energetic  than  una- 
dorned;  things  and  persons  are  mentioned  to  the  horror  of  peri- 

CHAP.  XX1.1  SEAT  OF  THE  CLERGY.  299 

phrastic  euphuists ;  the  liberty  of  speech  is  perfect,  and  as  it  is 
all  done  quite  in  a  parliamentary  way,  none  take  offence.  Those 
only  who  cannot  get  in  are  sad  ;  these  rejected  ones  remain  out- 
side grinding  their  teeth,  like  the  unhappy  ghosts  on  the  wrong 
side  of  the  Styx,  and  listen  anxiously  to  tlie  joyous  shouts  of  the 
thrice  blessed  within. 

At  Seville  a  choice  box  in  the  shade  and  to  the  right  of  the 
president  is  allotted  as  the  seat  of  honour  to  the  canons  of  the 
cathedral,  who  attend  in  their  clerical  costume ;  and  such  days 
are  fixed  upon  for  the  bull- fight  as  will  not  by  a  long  church 
service  prevent  their  coming.  The  clergy  of  Spain  have  always 
been  the  most  uncompromising  enemies  of  the  stage,  where 
they  never  go  ;  yet  neither  the  cruelty  nor  profligacy  of  the  am- 
phitheatre has  ever  roused  the  zeal  of  their  most  elect  or  most 
fanatic :  our  puritans  at  least  assailed  the  bear-bait,  which  induced 
the  Cavalier  Pludibras  to  defend  them ;  so  our  methodists  de- 
nounced the  bull-bait,  which  was  therefore  patronised  by  the  Righ*; 
Hon. W.Windham,  in  the  memorable  debate  May  24, 1802,  on  Mr 
Dog  Dent.  The  Spanish  clergy  pay  due  deference  to  bulls,  both 
papal  and  quadruped  ;  they  dislike  being  touched  on  this  subject, 
and  generally  reply  "  Es  costumbre — it  is  the  custom — siemprese 
ha  praticado  asi — it  has  always  been  done  so,  or  son  cosas  de 
Espcaia,  they  are  things  of  Spain" — the  usual  answer  given  as 
to  everything  which  appears  incomprehensible  to  strangers,  and 
which  they  either  can't  account  for,  or  do  not  choose.  In 
vain  did  St.  Isidore  write  a  chapter  against  the  amphitlieatre — 
his  chapter  minds  him  not ;  in  vain  did  Alplionso  the  Wise  for- 
bid their  attendance.  The  sacrifice  of  the  bull  has  always  been 
mixed  up  with  the  religion  of  old  Rome  and  old  and  modern 
Spain,  where  tliey  are  classed  among  acts  of  charity,  since  they 
support  the  sick  and  wounded  ;  therefore  all  the  sable  country- 
men of  Loyola  hold  to  the  Jesuitical  doctrine  that  the  end  jus- 
tifies the  means. 

300  COMMENCEMENT  OF  THE  BULL-FIGHT,  [chap.  xxii. 


The  Bull-fight— Opening  of  Spectacle — First  Act,  and  Appearance  of  the 
Bull— The  Picador— Bull  Bastinado — The  Horses,  and  their  Cruel  Treat- 
ment— Fire  and  Dogs — The  Second  Act — The  Chulos  and  their  Darts — 
The  Third  Act— The  Matador— Death  of  the  Bull— The  Conclusion,  and 
Philosophy  of  the  Amusement — Its  Effect  on  Ladies. 

When  the  appointed  much-wished-for  hour  is  come,  the  Queen  or 
the  Corregidor  takes  the  seat  of  honour  in  a  central  and  splendid 
box,  the  mob  having  been  previously  expelled  from  the  open 
arena  ;  this  operation  is  called  the  despejo,  and  is  an  amusing  one, 
from  the  reluctance  with  wliich  the  great  unwashed  submit  to  be 
cleaned  out.  The  proceedings  open  at  a  given  signal  with  a 
procession  of  the  combatants,  who  advance  preceded  by  alguaciles, 
or  officers  of  police,  who  are  dressed  in  the  ancient  Spanish  cos- 
tume, and  are  always  at  hand  to  arrest  any  one  wlio  infringes 
the  severe  laws  against  interruptions  of  the  games.  Then  follow 
the  picadores,  or  mounted  horsemen,  with  their  spears.  Their 
original  broad-brimmed  Spanish  hats  are  decorated  with  ribbons  ; 
their  upper  man  is  clac  in  a  gay  silken  jacket,  whose  lightness 
contrasts  with  the  heavy  iron  and  leather  protections  of  the  legs, 
whicli  give  the  clumsy  look  of  a  French  jackbooted  postilion. 
These  defences  are  necessary  when  the  horned  animal  charges 
home.  Xext  follow  the  chulos,  or  combatants  on  foot,  who  are 
arrayed  like  Figaro  at  the  opera,  and  have,  moreover,  silken 
cloaks  of  gay  colours.  The  7)iatndures,  or  killers,  come  behind 
them  ;  and,  last  of  all,  a  gaily-caparLsoned  team  of  mules,  which 
is  destined  to  drag  the  slaughtered  bulls  from  the  arena.  As  for 
the  men,  those  who  are  killed  on  the  spot  are  denied  the  burial- 
rites  if  they  die  without  confession.  Springing  from  the  dregs 
of  the  people,  they  are  eminently  superstitious,  and  cover  their 
breasts  with  relics,  amulets,  and  papal  charms.  A  clergyman, 
however,  is  in  attendance  with  the  sacramental  wafer,  in  case 
su  majestad  may  be  wanted  for  a  mortally -wounded  combatant. 


Having  made  their  obeisances  to  the  chief  authority,  all  retire, 
and  the  fatal  trumpet  sounds  ;  then  the  president  throws  the  key 
of  the  gate  by  which  the  bull  is  to  enter,  to  one  of  the  alguaciles, 
who  ought  to  catch  it  in  his  hat.  When  the  door  is  opened, 
this  worthy  gallops  away  as  fast  as  he  can,  amid  the  hoots  and 
hisses  of  the  mob,  not  because  he  rides  like  a  constable,  but  from 
the  instinctive  enmity  which  his  majesty  the  many  bear  to  the 
finisher  of  the  law,  just  as  little  birds  love  to  mob  a  hawk  ;  now 
more  than  a  thousand  kind  wishes  are  offered  up  that  the  bull 
may  catch  and  toss  him.  The  brilliant  army  of  combatants  in 
the  meanwhile  separates  like  a  bursting  shell,  and  take  up  their 
respective  places  as  regularly  as  our  fielders  do  at  a  cricket-match. 

The  play,  which  consists  of  three  acts,  then  begins  in  earnest ; 
the  drawing  up  of  the  curtain  is  a  spirit-stirring  moment ;  all 
eyes  are  riveted  at  the  first  appearance  of  the  bull  on  this  stage, 
as  no  one  can  tell  how  he  may  behave.  Let  loose  from  his  dark 
cell,  at  first  he  seems  amazed  at  the  Jiovelty  of  his  position  ;  torn 
from  his  pastures,  imprisoned  and  exposed,  stunned  by  the  noise, 
he  gazes  an  instant  around  at  the  crowd,  the  glare,  and  waving 
handkerchiefs,  ignorant  of  the  fate  which  inevitably  awaits  liim. 
He  bears  on  his  neck  a  ribbon,  "  la  devisa,"  which  designates  his 
breeder.  The  picador  endeavours  to  snatch  this  off,  to  lay  the 
trophy  at  his  true  love's  heart.  The  bull  is  condemned  without 
reprieve  ;  however  gallant  his  conduct,  or  desperate  his  resistance, 
his  death  is  the  catastrophe  ;  the  whole  tragedy  tends  and  hastens 
to  this  event,  which,  although  it  is  darkly  shadowed  out  before- 
hand, as  in  a  Greek  play,  does  not  diminish  the  interest,  since 
all  the  intermediate  changes  and  chances  are  uncertain  ;  hence 
the  sustained  excitement,  for  the  action  may  pass  in  an  instant 
from  the  sublime  to  the  ridiculous,  from  tragedy  to  farce. 

The  bull  no  sooner  recovers  his  senses,  tlian  his  splendid 
Achillean  rage  fires  every  limb,  and  with  closing  eyes  and 
lowered  horns  he  rushes  at  the  first  of  the  three  picadores,  who 
are  drawn  up  to  the  left,  close  to  the  tablas,  or  wooden  barrier 
which  walls  round  the  ring.  The  horseman  sits  on  his  trembling 
Eosinante,  with  his  pointed  lance  under  his  right  arm,  as  stiff"  and 
valiant  as  Don  Quixote.  If  the  animal  be  only  of  second-rate 
power  and  courage,  the  sharp  point  arrests  the  charge,  for  he 
well  remembers  this  garrocha,  or  goad,  by  which  lierdsmen  en- 

302  BULL  BASTINADO.  [chap.  xxii. 

force  discipline  and  inculcate  instruction  ;  during  this  momentary 
pause  a  quick  picador  turns  liis  horse  to  the  left  and  gets  free. 
The  bulls,  although  irrational  brutes,  are  not  slow  on  tlieir  part 
in  discovering  when  their  antagonists  are  bold  and  dexterous, 
and  particularly  dislike  fighting  against  the  pricks.  If  they  fly 
and  will  not  face  the  picador,  they  are  hooted  at  as  despicable 
malefactors,  who  wish  to  defraud  the  public  of  their  day's  sport, 
they  are  execrated  as  "  goats,"  "  cows,"  which  is  no  compliment 
to  bulls  ;  these  culprits,  moreover,  are  soundly  beaten  as  they 
pass  near  the  barrier  by  forests  of  sticks,  with  which  the  mob 
is  provided  for  the  nonce  ;  that  of  the  elegant  ynajo,  when  going 
to  the  bull-fight,  is  very  peculiar,  and  is  called  la  chirata ;  it  is 
between  four  and  five  feet  long,  is  taper,  and  terminates  in  a  lump 
or  knob,  while  the  top  is  forked,  into  which  the  thumb  is  inserted  ; 
it  is  also  peeled  or  painted  in  alternate  rings,  black  and  white,  or 
red  and  yellow.  The  lower  classes  content  themselves  with  a 
common  shillelah  ;  one  with  a  knob  at  the  end  is  preferred,  as 
administering  a  more  impressive  whack  ;  their  instrument  is 
called  porro,  because  heavy  and  lumbering. 

Nor  is  this  bastinado  uncalled  for,  since  courage,  address,  and 
energy,  are  the  qualities  which  ennoble  tauromachia  ;  and  when 
they  are  wanting,  the  butchery,  with  its  many  disgusting  inci- 
dents, becomes  revolting  to  the  stranger,  but  to  him  alone  ;  for 
the  gentler  emotions  of  pity  and  mercy,  which  rarely  soften  any 
transactions  of  hard  Iberia,  are  here  banished  altogether  from 
the  hearts  of  the  natives ;  they  now  only  have  eyes  for  exhibi- 
tions of  skill  and  valour,  and  scarcely  observe  those  cruel  inci- 
dents Avhich  engross  and  horrify  the  foreigner,  who  again  on  his 
part  is  equally  blind  to  those  redeeming  excellencies,  on  which 
alone  the  attention  of  the  rest  of  the  spectators  is  fixed ;  tlie 
tables  are  now  turned  against  the  stranger,  whose  aesthetic  mind's 
eye  can  see  the  poetry  and  beauty  of  the  picturesque  rags  and 
tumbledown  hamlets  of  Spaniards,  and  yet  is  blind  to  the  poverty, 
misery,  and  want  of  civilization,  to  which  alone  the  vision  of 
the  higher  classed  native  is  directed,  on  whose  exalted  soul  the 
coming  comforts  of  cotton  are  gleaming. 

When  the  bull  is  turned  by  the  spear  of  the  first  picador,  he 
passes  on  to  tlie  two  otiier  horsemen,  who  receive  him  vith 
similar  cordiality.     If  the  animal  be  baffled  by  their  skill  and 

CHAP.  xxii.J  A  GOOD  BULL.  303 

valour,  stunning  are  the  shouts  of  applause  which  celebrate  the 
victory  of  the  men  :  should  he  on  the  contrary  charge  home  and 
overwhelm  horses  and  riders,  tlien — for  the  balances  of  praise  and 
blame  are  held  with  perfect  fairness — the  fierce  lord  of  the  arena 
is  encouraged  with  roars  of  compliments,  Bravo  toro,  Viva  toro^ 
Well  done,  bull !  even  a  long  life  is  wished  to  him  by  thousands 
who  know  that  he  must  be  dead  in  twenty  minutes.  • 

A  bold  beast  is  not  to  be  deterred  by  a  trifling  inch-deep 
wound,  but  presses  on,  goring  the  horse  in  the  flank,  and  then 
gaining  confidence  and  courage  by  victory,  and  "  baptized  in 
blood,"  a  la  Frangaise,  advances  in  a  career  of  honour,  gore,  and 
glory.  The  picador  is  seldom  well  mounted,  for  the  horses  are 
provided,  at  tlie  lowest  possible  price,  by  a  contractor,  who  runs 
the  risk  whether  many  or  few  are  killed  ;  they  indeed  are  the 
only  things  economised  in  this  costly  spectacle,  and  are  sorry, 
broken-down  hacks,  fit  only  for  the  dog-kennel  of  an  English 
squire,  or  carriage  of  a  foreign  Pair.  This  increases  the  danger 
to  his  rider;  in  the  ancient  combats,  the  finest  and  most  spirited 
horses  were  used  ;  quick  as  lightning,  and  turning  to  the  touch, 
they  escaped  the  deadly  rush.  The  eyes  of  those  poor  horses 
which  see  and  will  not  face  death,  are  often  bound  over  with  a 
handkerchief,  like  criminals  about  to  be  executed  ;  thus  they 
await  blindfold  the  fatal  horn  thrust  which  is  to  end  their  life  of 

The  picadors  are  subject  to  most  severe  falls  ;  the  bull  often 
tosses  horse  and  rider  in  one  ruin,  and  when  his  victims  fall 
with  a  crash  on  the  gi'ound  exhausts  his  fury  upon  his  prostrate 
foes.  The  picador  manages  (if  he  can)  to  fall  off  on  the  opposite 
side,  in  order  that  his  horse  may  form  a  barrier  and  rampart 
between  him  and  the  bull.  When  these  deadly  struggles  take 
place,  when  life  hangs  on  a  thread,  the  amphitheatre  is  peopled 
with  heads  ;  every  feeling  of  anxiety,  eagerness,  fear,  horror, 
and  delight  is  stamped  on  their  expressive  countenances  ;  if  hap- 
piness is  to  be  estimated  by  quality,  intensity,  and  concentration, 
rather  than  duration  (and  it  is),  these  are  moments  of  excitement 
more  precious  to  them,  than  ages  of  placid,  insipid,  miiform 
stagnation.  Their  feelings  are  wrought  to  a  pitch,  when  the 
horse,  maddened  with  wounds  and  terror,  plunging  in  the  death- 
struggle,  the   crimson  seams  of  blood  streaking  his  foam  and 

304  DEATH  OF  THE  HORSE.  chap.  xxii. 

sweat-whitened  body,  flies  from  the  infuriated  bull  still  pursuing, 
still  goring  ;  then  are  displayed  the  nerve,  presence  of  mind,  and 
horsemanship  of  the  dexterous  and  undismayed  picador.  It  is  in 
truth  a  piteous  sight  to  see  the  poor  mangled  horses  treading  out 
their  entrails,  and  yet  gallantly  carrying  off  their  riders  unhurt. 
But  as  in  the  pagan  sacrifices,  the  quivering  intestines,  trembling 
with  life,  formed  the  most  propitious  omens — to  what  will  not 
early  habit  familiarise  ? — so  the  Spaniards  are  no  more  affected 
with  the  reality,  than  the  Italians  are  with  the  abstract  "  tanti 
palpiti "  of  Rossini. 

The  miserable  horse,  when  dead,  is  dragged  out,  leaving  a 
bloody  furrow  on  the  sand,  as  the  river-beds  of  the  arid  plains  of 
Barbary  are  marked  by  the  crimson  fringe  of  the  flowering 
oleanders.  A  universal  sympathy  is  shown  for  the  horseman  in 
these  awful  moments ;  the  men  rise,  the  women  scream,  but  all 
this  soon  subsides  ;  the  picador,  if  wounded,  is  carried  out  and 
forgotten — "  los  muertos  y  idos  no  tienen  amigos  " — a  new  com- 
batant fills  up  his  gap,  the  battle  rages — wounds  and  death  are 
the  order  of  the  day — he  is  not  missed  ;  and  as  new  incidents 
arise,  no  pause  is  left  for  regret  or  reflection.  We  remember 
seeing  at  Granada  a  matador  cruelly  gored  by  a  bull :  he  was 
carried  away  as  dead,  and  his  place  immediately  taken  by  his  son, 
as  coolly  as  a  viscount  succeeds  to  an  earl's  estate  and  title.  Car- 
nerero,  the  musician,  died  while  fiddling  at  a  ball  at  Madrid,  in 
1838 ;  neither  the  band  nor  the  dancers  stopped  one  moment. 
The  boldness  of  the  picadors  is  great.  Francisco  Sevilla,  when 
thrown  from  his  horse  and  lying  under  the  dying  animal,  seized 
the  bull,  as  he  rushed  at  him,  by  his  ears,  turned  round  to  the 
people,  and  laughed ;  but,  in  fact,  the  long  horns  of  the  bull 
make  it  difficult  for  him  to  gore  a  man  on  the  ground  ;  he  gene- 
rally bruises  them  with  liis  nose  :  nor  does  he  remain  long  busied 
with  his  victim,  since  he  is  lured  to  fresh  attacks  by  the  glitter- 
ing cloaks  of  the  Chiilos  who  come  instantly  to  the  rescue.  At 
the  same  time  we  are  free  to  confess,  that  few  picadors,  although 
men  of  bronze,  can  be  said  to  have  a  sound  rib  in  their  body. 
When  one  is  carried  off  apparently  dead,  but  returns  immediately 
mounted  on  a  fresh  horse,  the  applauding  voice  of  the  people 
outbellows  a  thousand  bulls.  If  the  wounded  man  should  chance 
not  to  come  back,  n'trnporte,  however  courted  outside  the  Plaza, 

ciiAP.  XXII.]  WOUNDED  HORSES.  305 

now  he  is  ranked,  like  the  gladiator  was  by  the  Komans,  no 
higher  than  a  beast, — or  about  the  same  as  a  slave  under  the 
perfect  equality  and  man  rights  of  the  model  republic. 

The  poor  horse  is  valued  at  even  less,  and  he,  of  all  the 
actors,  is  the  one  in  which  Englishmen,  true  lovers  and  breeders 
of  the  noble  animal,  take  the  liveliest  interest;  nor  can  any  bull- 
fighting habit  ever  reconcile  them  to  his  sufferings  and  ill- 
treatment.  The  hearts  of  the  picadors  are  as  devoid  of  feeling 
as  their  iron-cased  legs  ;  they  only  think  of  themselves,  and 
have  a  nice  tact  iu  knowing  when  a  wound  is  fatal  or  not.  Ac- 
cordingly, if  the  horn-thrust  has  touched  a  vital  part,  no  sooner 
has  the  enemy  passed  on  to  a  new  victim,  than  an  experienced 
picador  quietly  dismounts,  takes  off  the  saddle  and  bridle,  and 
hobbles  off  like  Richard,  calling  out  for  another  hor^e — a  horse  ! 
The  poor  animal,  when  stripped  of  these  accoutrements,  has  a  most 
rippish  look,  as  it  staggers  to  and  fro,  like  a  drunken  man,  until 
again  attacked  by  the  bull  and  prostrated ;  then  it  lies  dying- 
unnoticed  in  the  sand,  or,  if  observed,  merely  rouses  the  jeers  of 
the  mob  ;  as  its  tail  quivers  in  the  last  agony  of  death,  your 
attention  is  called  to  the  fun  ;  Mira,  mira,  que  cola  !  The  words 
and  sight  yet  haunt  us,  for  they  were  those  that  first  caught  our 
inexperienced  ears  and  eyes  at  the  first  rush  of  the  first  bull 
of  our  first  bullfight.  While  gazing  on  the  scene  in  a  total  ab- 
straction from  the  world,  we  felt  our  coat-tails  tugged  at,  as  by 
a  greedily-biting  pike ;  we  had  caught,  or,  rather,  were  caught 
by  a  venerable  harridan,  whose  quick  perception  had  discovered 
a  novice,  whom  her  kindness  prompted  to  instruct,  for  e'en  in 
the  ashes  live  the  wonted  fires ;  a  bright,  fierce  eye  gleamed  alive 
in  a  dead  and  shrivelled  face,  which  evil  passions  had  furrowed 
like  the  lava-seared  sides  of  an  extinct  volcano,  and  dried  up,  like 
a  cat  starved  behind  a  wainscot,  into  a  thing  of  fur  and  bones,  in 
which  gender  was  obliterated — let  her  pass.  If  the  wound  re- 
ceived by  the  horse  be  not  instantaneously  mortal,  the  blood- 
vomiting  hole  is  plugged  up  with  tow,  and  the  fountain  of  life 
stopped  for  a  few  minutes.  If  the  flank  is  only  partially  rup- 
tured, the  protruding  bowels  are  pushed  back — no  operation  in 
hernia  is  half  so  well  performed  by  Spanish  surgeons — and  tlie 
rent  is  sown  up  with  a  needle  and  pack-thread.  Thus  existence  is 
prolonged  for  new  tortures,  and  a  few  dollars  are  saved  to  t!ie 

306  A  COWAED  BULL.  [chap.  xxn. 

contractor ;  but  neither  death  nor  lacerations  excite  the  least 
pity,  nay,  the  bloodier  and  more  fatal  the  spectacle,  the  more 
brilliant  is  it  pronounced.  It  is  of  no  use  to  remonstrate,  or  ask 
why  the  wounded  sufferers  are  not  mercifully  killed  at  once  ;  the 
utilitarian  Spaniard  dislikes  to  see  the  order  of  the  sport  inter- 
rupted and  spoilt  by  what  he  considers  foreign  squeamishness  and 
nonsense,  ^^  Ah  quel  7io  vale  fid," — "Bah!  the  beast  is  worth 
nothing;"  that  is,  provided  he  condescends  to  reyily  to  your  dispa- 
rates with  anything  beyond  a  shrug  of  civil  contempt.  But  na- 
tional tastes  will  differ.  "  Sir,"  said  an  alderman  to  Dr.  Johnson, 
"  in  attempting  to  listen  to  your  long  sentences,  and  give  you  a 
short  answer,  I  have  swallowed  two  pieces  of  green  fat,  without 
tasting  the  flavour.  I  beg  you  to  let  me  enjoy  my  present  hap- 
piness in  peace  and  quiet." 

The  bull  is  the  hero  of  the  scene;  yet,  like  Satan  in  the 
Paradise  Lost,  he  is  foredoomed.  Nothing  can  save  him  from  a 
certain  fate,  which  awaits  all,  whether  brave  or  cowardly.  The 
poor  creatures  sometimes  endeavour  in  vain  to  escape,  and 
have  favourite  retreats,  to  which  they  fly  ;  or  they  leap  over  the 
barrier,  among  the  spectators,  creating  a  vast  hubbub  and  fun, 
upsetting  water-carriers  and  fancy  men,  putting  sentinels  and  old 
women  to  flight,  and  affording  infinite  delight  to  all  who  are 
safe  in  the  boxes  ;  for,  as  Bacon  remarks,  "  It  is  pleasant  to  see  a 
battle  from  a  distant  hill."  Bulls  which  exhibit  this  cowardlike 
activity  are  insulted  :  cnes  of  "  fuego"  and  "  perros,"  fire  and 
dogs,  resound,  and  he  is  condemned  to  be  baited.  As  the  Spanish 
dogs  have  by  no  means  the  pluck  of  the  English  assailants  of 
bulls,  they  are  longer  at  the  work,  and  many  are  made  minced- 

meat  of: — 

"  Up  to  the  stars  the  growling  mastiffs  fly 
And  add  new  monsters  to  the  frighted  sky." 

When  at  length  the  poor  brute  is  pulled  down,  he  is  stabbed  in  the 
spine,  as  if  he  were  only  fit  for  the  shambles,  being  a  civilian  ox, 
not  a  soldierlike  bull.  All  these  processes  are  considered  as 
deadly  insults ;  and  when  more  than  one  bull  exhibits  these  craven 
propensities  to  baulk  nobler  expectancies,  then  is  raised  tlie  cry 
of  "  Cabestros  al  circo  /"  tame  oxen  to  the  circus.  This  is  a  mortal 
aflront  to  the  empresa,  or  management,  as  it  infers  that  it  has 
furnished  animals  fitter  for  the  plough  than  for  the  arena.     The 


indignation  of  the  mob  is  terrible ;  for,  if  disappointed  in  the 
blood  of  bulls,  it  will  lap  that  of  men. 

The  bull  is  sometimes  teased  with  stuifed  figures,  men  of  straw 
with  leaded  feet,  which  rise  up  again  as  soon  as  he  knocks  them 
down.  An  old  author  relates  that  in  the  time  of  Philip  IV.  "a 
despicable  peasant  was  occasionally  set  upon  a  lean  horse,  and 
exposed  to  death."  At  other  times,  to  amuse  the  populace,  a 
monkey  is  tied  to  a  pole  in  the  arena.  This  art  of  ingeniously 
tormenting  is  considered  as  unjustifiable  homicide  by  certain 
lively  philosimious  foreigners ;  and,  indeed,  all  these  episodes 
are  despised  as  irregular  hors  d'ceuvres,  by  the  real  and  business- 
like amateur. 

After  a  due  time  the  first  act  terminates :  its  length  is  uncer- 
tain. Sometimes  it  is  most  brilliant,  since  one  bull  has  been 
known  to  kill  a  dozen  horses,  and  clear  the  plaza.  Then  he  is 
adored  ;  and  as  he  roams,  snorting  about,  lord  of  all  he  surveys, 
he  becomes  the  sole  object  of  worship  to  ten  thousand  devotees ; 
at  the  signal  of  the  president,  and  sound  of  a  trumpet,  the  second 
act  commences  with  the  performances  of  the  chulo,  a  word  which 
signifies,  in  the  Arabic,  a  lad,  a  merryman,  as  at  our  fairs.  The 
duty  of  this  light  division,  these  skirmishers,  is  to  draw  off  the 
bull  from  the  picador  when  endangered,  which  they  do  with  their 
coloured  cloaks  ;  their  address  and  agility  are  surprising,  they 
skim  over  the  sand  like  glittering  humming-birds,  scarcely 
touching  the  earth.  They  are  dressed  in  short  breeches,  and 
without  gaiters,  just  as  Figaro  is  in  the  opera  of  the  ''Barbiere  de 
Sevifflia.'  Their  hair  is  tied  into  a  knot  behind,  and  enclosed  in 
the  once  universal  silk  net,  the  retecilla — the  identical  reticidum 
• — of  which  so  many  instances  are  seen  on  ancient  Etruscan  vases. 
No  bull-fighters  ever  arrive  at  the  top  of  their  profession  without 
first  excelling  in  this  apprenticeship  ;  then,  they  are  taught  how 
to  entice  the  bull  to  them,  and  learn  his  mode  of  attack,  and  how 
to  parry  it.  The  most  dangerous  moment  is  when  these  chidos  ven- 
ture out  into  the  middle  of  the  plaza,  and  are  followed  by  the  bull 
to  the  barrier.  There  is  a  small  ledge,  on  which  they  place  their 
foot,  and  vault  over,  and  a  narrow  slit  in  the  boarding,  tlirough 
which  tliey  slip.  Their  escapes  are  marvellous,  and  they  win  by  a 
neck  ;  they  seem  really  sometimes,  so  close  is  the  run,  to  be  helped 
over  the  fence  by  the  bull's  horns.    The  chulos,  in  the  second  ac<, 

308  THE  MATADOR  AND  THIRD  ACT.        [chap,  xxn 

are  the  sole  performers  ;  their  part  is  to  place  small  barbed  darts, 
on  each  side  of  the  neck  of  the  bull,  which  are  called  banderillas, 
and  are  ornamented  with  cut  paper  of  different  colours — gay  de- 
corations under  which  cruelty  is  concealed.  The  banderilleros  go 
right  up  to  him,  holding  the  arrows  at  the  shaft,  and  pointing  the 
barbs  at  the  bull ;  just  when  the  animal  stoops  to  toss  his  foes, 
they  jerk  them  into  his  neck  and  slip  aside.  The  service  appears 
to  be  more  dangerous  than  it  is,  but  it  requires  a  quick  eye,  a  light 
hand  and  foot.  The  bai'bs  should  be  placed  to  correspond  with 
each  other  exactly  on  both  sides.  Such  pretty  pairs  are  termed 
huenos  pares  by  the  Spaniards,  and  the  feat  is  called  coiffer  le 
taureau  by  the  French,  who  undoubtedly  are  first-rate  perru- 
quiers.  Very  often  these  arrows  are  provided  with  crackers, 
which,  by  means  of  a  detonating  powder,  explode  the  moment 
they  are  affixed  in  the  neck  ;  thence  they  are  called  banderillas 
de  fiiego.  The  agony  of  the  scorched  and  tortured  animal  makes 
him  plunge  and  bound  like  a  sportive  lamb,  to  the  intense  joy  of 
the  populace,  while  the  fire,  the  smell  of  singed  hair  and  roasted 
flesh,  which  our  gastronome  neighbours  would  call  a  bifstec  a 
V Espagnole,  faintly  recall  to  many  a  dark  scowling  priest  the 
superior  attractions  of  his  former  amphitheatre,  the  auto  de  fe. 

The  last  trumpet  now  sounds,  the  arena  is  cleared,  and  the 
matador,  the  executioner,  the  man  of  death,  stands  before  his 
victim  alone  ;  on  entering,  he  addresses  the  president,  and  throws 
his  cap  to  the  ground.  In  his  right  hand  he  holds  a  long  straight 
Toledan  blade ;  in  his  left  he  waves  the  muleta,  the  red  flag,  or 
the  engauo,  the  lure,  which  ought  not  (so  Romero  laid  down  in 
our  hearing)  to  be  so  large  as  the  standard  of  a  religious  brother- 
hood, nor  so  small  as  a  lady's  pocket-handkerchief,  but  about  a 
yard  square.  The  colour  is  always  red,  because  that  best  irritates 
tlie  bull  and  conceals  blood.  Tliere  is  always  a  spare  slayer  at 
hand  in  case  of  accidents,  which  may  happen  in  the  best  regulated 

The  matador,  from  being  alone,  concentrates  in  himself  all 
the  interest  as  regards  the  human  species,  which  was  before 
frittered  away  among  the  many  other  combatants,  as  was  the 
case  in  the  ancient  gladiatorial  shows  of  Rome.  He  advances  to 
the  bull,  in  order  to  entice  him  towards  him,  or,  in  nice  technical 
idiom,  citarlo  a  la  jurisdiccion  del  engano,  to  cite  him  into  the 


jurisdiction  of  the  trick  ;  in  plain  English,  to  subpo3na  him,  or, 
as  our  ring  would  saj^,  get  his  head  into  cliancery.  And  this 
trial  is  nearly  as  awful,  as  the  matador  stands  confronted  with  his 
foe,  in  the  presence  of  inexorable  witnesses,  the  bar  and  judges, 
who  would  rather  see  the  bull  kill  him  twice  over,  than  that  he 
should  kill  the  bull  contrary  to  the  rules  and  practice  of  the 
court  and  tauromachian  precedent.  In  these  brief  but  trying 
moments  the  matador  generally  looks  pale  and  anxious,  as  well 
he  may,  for  life  hangs  on  the  edge  of  a  razor,  but  he  presents  a 
fine  picture  of  fixed  purpose  and  concentration  of  moral  energy. 
And  Seneca  said  truly  that  the  world  had  seen  as  many  examples 
of  courage  in  gladiators,  as  in  the  Catos  and  Scipios. 

The  matador  endeavoui's  rapidly  to  discover  the  character  of 
the  animal,  and  examines  with  eye  keener  than  Spurzheim,  his 
bumps  of  combativeness,  destructi\eness,  and  other  amiable 
organs  ;  nor  has  he  many  moments  to  lose,  where  mistake  is  fatal, 
as  one  must  die,  and  both  may.  Here,  as  FalstafF  says,  there  is 
no  scoring,  except  on  the  pate.  Often  even  the  brute  bull  seems 
to  feel  that  the  last  moment  is  come,  and  pauses,  when  face  to 
face  in  the  deadly  duel  with  liis  single  opponent.  Be  that  as  it 
may,  the  contrast  is  very  striking.  The  slayer  is  arrayed  in  a  ball 
costume,  with  no  buckler  but  skill,  and  as  if  it  were  a  pastime : 
he  is  all  coolness,  the  beast  all  rage ;  and  time  it  is  to  be 
collected,  for  now  indeed  knowledge  is  power,  and  could  the 
beast  reason,  the  man  would  have  small  chance.  Meanwhile  the 
spectators  are  wound  up  to  a  greater  pitcli  of  madness  than  the 
poor  bull,  who  has  undergone  a  long  torture,  besides  continued 
excitement :  he  at  this  instant  becomes  a  study  for  a  Paul  Potter  ; 
his  eyes  flash  fire — his  inflated  nostrils  snort  fury  ;  his  body  is 
covered  with  sweat  and  foam,  or  crimsoned  with  a  glaze  of  gore 
strean)ing  from  gaping  wounds.  "  Mira  !  que  hel  cuerpo  de 
sangre  I — look  !  what  a  beauteous  body  of  blood  !"  exclaimed 
the  worthy  old  lady,  who,  as  we  before  mentioned,  was  kind 
enough  to  point  out  to  our  inexperience  the  tit  bits  of  the  treat, 
the  pearls  of  greatest  price. 

There  are  several  sorts  of  t07'os,  whose  characters  vary  no  less 
than  those  of  men  :  sortie  are  brave  and  dashing,  others  are  slow 
and  heavy,  others  sly  and  cowardly.  The  matador  foils  and 
plays  with  the  bull  until  he  has  discovered  his  disposition.     The 


310  CHARACTERS  OF  BULLS.  [chap.  xxii. 

fundamental  principle  consists  in  the  animal's  mode  of  attack, 
the  stooping  his  head  and  shutting  his  eyes,  before  he  butts ;  the 
seci'et  of  mastering  him  lies  in  distinguishing  whether  he  acts  on 
the  offensive  or  defensive.  Tliose  whicli  are  fearless,  and  rush 
boldly  on  at  once,  closing  their  eyes,  are  the  most  easy  to  kill ; 
those  which  are  cunning — which  seldom  go  straight  when  they 
charge,  but  stop,  dodge,  and  run  at  the  man,  not  the  flag,  are 
the  most  dangerous.  The  interest  of  the  spectators  increases  in 
proportion  as  the  peril  is  great. 

Although  fatal  accidents  do  not  often  occur  (and  we  ourselves 
have  never  seen  a  man  killed,  yet  we  have  beheld  some  hundred 
bulls  despatched),  such  events  are  always  possible.  At  Tudela, 
a  bull  having  killed  seventeen  horses,  a  picador  named  Blanco, 
and  a  banderillero,  then  leapt  over  the  barriers,  where  he  gored 
to  death  a  peasant,  and  wounded  many  others.  The  newspapers 
simply  headed  the  statement,  "  Accidents  have  happened."  Pepe 
Illo,  who  had  received  thirty-eight  wounds  in  the  wars,  died, 
like  Nelson,  the  hero's  death.  He  was  killed  on  the  11th  of 
May,  1801.  He  had  a  presentiment  of  his  death,  but  said  that 
he  must  do  his  duty. 

Every  matador  must  be  quick  and  decided.  He  must  not  let 
the  bull  run  at  the  flag  above  two  or  three  times ;  the  moral 
tension  of  the  multitudes  is  too  strained  to  endure  a  longer  sus- 
pense ;  they  vent  their  impatience  in  jeers,  noises,  and  endea- 
vour by  every  possible  manner  to  irritate  him,  and  make  him  lose 
his  temper,  and  perhaps  life.  Under  such  circumstances,  Manuel 
Romero,  who  had  murdered  a  man,  M-as  always  saluted  with  cries 
of  "  A  la  Plaza  de  Cehada — to  Tyburn."  The  populace  abso- 
lutely loathe  those  who  show  the  smallest  white  feather,  or  do 
not  brave  death  cheerfully. 

There  are  many  ways  of  killing  the  bull  :  the  principal  is 
when  the  matador  receives  him  on  his  sword  when  charging ; 
then  the  weapon,  which  is  held  still  and  never  thrust  forward, 
enters  just  between  the  left  shoulder  and  the  blade-bone ;  a  firm 
hand,  eye,  and  nerve,  are  essential,  since  in  nothing  is  the  real 
fancy  so  fastidious  as  in  the  exact  nicety  of  the  placing  this  death- 
wound.  The  bull  very  often  is  not  killed  at  the  first  effort ;  if 
not  true,  the  sword  strikes  a  bone,  and  then  it  is  ejected  high  in 
air  by  the  rising  neck.     When  the  blow  is  true,  death  is  instan 


taneous,  and  the  bull,  vomiting  forth  blood,  drops  at  the  feet  of 
his  conqueror.  It  is  indeed  the  triumph  of  knowledge  over  brute 
force  ;  all  that  was  fire,  fury,  passion,  and  life,  falls  in  an  instant, 
still  for  ever.  The  gay  team  of  mules  now  enter,  glittering  with 
flaffs,  and  tinkliuii:  witli  bells ;  the  dead  bull  is  carried  off  at  a 
rapid  gallop,  which  always  delights  the  populace.  The  matador 
then  wipes  the  hot  blood  from  his  sword,  and  bows  to  the  spec- 
tators with  admirable  sang  froid,  who  fling  their  hats  into  the 
arena,  a  compliment  which  he  returns  by  throwing  them  back 
again  (they  are  generally  "  shocking  bad  "  ones)  ;  when  Spain 
was  rich,  a  golden,  or  at  least  a  silver  shower  was  rained  down — 
ces  heaux  jours  la  sont  passes ;  thanks  to  her  kind  neighbour. 
The  poverty-stricken  Spaniaixl,  however,  gives  all  he  can,  and 
lets  the  bullfighter  dream  the  rest.  As  hats  in  Spain  represent 
grandeeship,  so  these  beavers,  part  and  parcel  of  themselves,  are 
given  as  symbols  of  their  generous  hearts  and  souls  ;  and  none  but 
a  huckster  would  go  into  minute  details  of  value  or  condition. 

When  a  bull  will  not  run  at  the  fatal  flag,  or  prays  for  par- 
don, he  is  doomed  to  a  dishonourable  death,  as  no  true  Spaniard 
begs  for  his  own  life,  or  spares  that  of  his  foe,  when  in  his  power  ; 
now  the  media  Luna  is  yelled  for,  and  the  call  implies  insult ; 
the  use  is  equivalent  to  shooting  traitors  in  the  back  :  this  half 
moon  is  the  precise  Oriental  ancient  and  cruel  instrument  of 
houghing  cattle  ;  moreover  it  is  the  exact  old  Iberian  bident,  or 
a  sharp  steel  crescent  placed  on  a  long  pole.  The  cowardly  blow 
is  given  from  behind ;  and  when  the  poor  beast  is  crippled  by 
dividing  the  sinew  of  his  leg,  and  crawls  along  in  agony, 
an  assistant  pierces  with  a  pointed  dagger  the  spinal  marrow, 
which  is  the  usual  method  of  slaughtering  cattle  in  Spain  by  the 
butcher.  To  perform  all  these  vile  operations  is  considered  be- 
neath the  dignity  of  the  matador ;  some,  however.  Mill  kill  the 
bull  by  phmging  the  point  of  tlieir  sword  in  the  vertebras,  as  the 
danger  gives  dignity  to  the  difficult  feat. 

Such  is  a  single  bull-fight ;  each  of  which  is  repeated  eight 
times  with  succeeding  bulls,  the  excitement  of  the  multitude 
rising  with  each  indulgence;  after  a  short  collapse  new  desires 
are  roused  by  fresh  objects,  the  fierce  sport  is  renewed,  which 
night  alone  can  extinguish  ;  nay,  often  when  royalty  is  present,,  a 
ninth  bull  is  clamoured  for,  which  is  always  graciously  granted 

y  2 

312  CONCLUSION  OF  BULL-FIGHT.  [chap.  xxii. 

by  the  nominal  monarch's  welcome  sign,  the  pulling  his  royal 
ear ;  in  truth  here  the  mob  is  autocrat,  and  his  majesty  the  many 
will  take  no  denial  ;  the  bull-fight  terminates  when  the  day  dies 
like  a  tlolphin,  and  the  curtain  of  heaven  hung  over  the  bloody 
show,  is  incarnadined  and  crimsoned  ;  this  glorious  finish  is  seen 
in  full  perfectfon  at  Seville,  wliere  the  plaza  from  being  un- 
finished is  open  toward  the  cathedral,  which  furnishes  a  Moorish 
distance  to  tlie  picturesque  foreground.  On  particular  occasions 
this  side  is  decorated  with  flags.  When  the  blazing  sun  setting 
on  the  red  Giralda  tower,  lights  up  its  fair  proportions  like  a 
pillar  of  fire,  the  refreshing  evening  breeze  springs  up,  and  the 
flagging  banners  wave  in  triumph  over  the  concluding  spectacle  ; 
then  when  all  is  come  to  an  end,  as  all  things  human  must,  the 
congregation  depart,  with  rather  le^s  decorum  than  if  quitting  a 
churcli ;  all  liasten  to  sacrifice  the  rest  of  the  night  to  Bacchus 
and  Venus,  with  a  passing  homage  to  the  knife,  should  critics 
differ  too  hotly  on  tlie  merits  of  some  particular  thrust  of  the 

To  conclude  ;  the  minds  of  men,  like  the  House  of  Commons 
in  1802,  are  divided  on  the  merits  of  the  bull-fight ;  theWilber- 
forces  assert  (especially  foreigners,  who,  notwithstanding,  seldom 
fail  to  sanction  die  arena  by  their  presence)  that  all  the  best 
feelings  are  blunted — that  idleness,  extravagance,  cruelty,  and 
ferocity  are  promoted  at  a  vast  expense  of  human  and  animal 
life  by  these  pastimes ;  the  Windhams  contend  that  loyalty, 
courage,  presence  of  mind,  endurance  of  pain,  and  contempt  of 
death,  are  inculcated — that,  while  the  theatre  is  all  illusion,  the 
opera  all  effeminacy,  these  manly,  national  games  are  all  truth, 
and  in  the  words  of  a  native  eulogist  "  elevate  the  soul  to  those 
grandiose  actions  of  valour  and  heroism  which  have  long  proved 
the  Spaniards  to  be  the  best  and  bravest  of  all  nations." 

The  efficacy  of  such  sports  for  sustaining  a  martial  spirit  was  dis- 
proved by  the  degeneracy  of  the  Romans  at  the  time  when  bloody 
spectacles  were  most  in  vogue ;  nor  are  bravery  and  humanity 
the  characteristics  of  the  bull-fighting  Spaniards  in  the  collective. 
We  ourselves  do  not  attribute  their  "  merciless  skivering  and 
skewering,"  their  flogging  and  murdering  women,  to  the  bull- 
fight, the  practical  result  of  which  has  been  overrated  and  mis- 
understood.    Cruel  it  undoubtedly  is,  and  perfectly  congenial  to 


the  inherent,  inveterate  ferocity  of  Iberian  character,  but  it  is  an 
effect  rather  tlian  a  cause — with  doubtless  some  reciprocating 
action  ;  and  it  may  be  questioned,  whether  the  original  bull-fight 
had  not  a  greater  tendency  to  humanise,  than  the  Olympic  games  ; 
certainly  the  Fiesta  real  of  the  feudal  ages  combined  the  asso- 
ciated ideas  of  religion  and  loyalty,  while  the  chivalrous  combat 
rmrtured  a  nice  sense  of  personal  honour  and  a  respectful  gallantry 
to  women,  which  weie  unknown  to  the  polished  CVreeks  or  warlike 
Romans ;  and  many  of  the  finest  features  of  Spanish  character 
have  degenerated  since  the  discontinuance  of  the  original  fight, 
which  was  more  bloody  and  fatal  than  the  present  one. 

The  Spaniards  invariably  bring  forward  our  boxing-matches 
in  self-justification,  as  if  a  tu  quoque  could  be  so  ;  but  it  must 
always  be  remembered  in  our  excuse  that  these  are  discounte- 
nanced by  the  good  and  respectable,  and  legally  stigmatised  as 
breaches  of  the  peace ;  although  disgraced  by  beastly  drunken- 
ness, brutal  vulgarity,  ruinous  gambling  and  betting,  from  which 
the  Spanish  arena  is  exempt,  as  no  bull  yet  has  been  backed  to 
kill  so  many  horses  or  not ;  our  matches,  however,  are  based  on  a 
spirit  oi fair  play  which  forms  no  principle  of  the  Punic  politics, 
warfare,  or  bull-fighting  of  Spain.  The  Plaza  there  is  patronised 
by  churcli  and  state,  to  Avhom,  in  justice,  the  responsibility  of  evil 
consequences  must  be  referred.  Tlie  show  is  conducted  with  great 
ceremonial,  combining  many  elements  of  poetry,  the  beautiful  and 
sublime  ;  insomuch  that  a  Spanish  author  proudly  says :  "  When 
the  countless  assembly  is  honoured  by  the  presence  of  our  august 
mouarclis,  the  world  is  lost  in  admiration  at  the  majestic  spec- 
tacle afforded  by  the  happiest  people  in  the  world,  enjoying  with 
rapture  an  exhibition  peculiarly  their  own,  and  offering  to  their 
idolised  sovereigns  the  due  Iiomage  of  the  truest  and  most  refined 
loyalty  ;"  and  it  is  impossible  to  deny  the  magnificent  coup  d'ail 
of  the  asseiiibled  thousands.  Under  such  conflicting  circum- 
stances, we  turn  away  our  eyes  during  moments  of  painful  detail 
which  are  lost  in  the  poetical  ferocity  of  the  whole,  for  tlie  in- 
terest of  the  tragedy  of  real  death  is  undeniable,  irresistible,  and 
all  absorbing. 

The  Spaniards  seem  almost  unconscious  of  the  cruelty  of  those 
details  wiiich  are  most  offensive  to  a  stranger.  They  are  recon- 
ciled by  habit,  as  we  are  to  the  bleeding  butchers'  shops  which 

814  PHILOSOPHY  OF  THE  BULL-FIGHT       [chap,  xxn- 

disfigure  our  gay  streets,  and  which  if  seen  for  the  first  time 
would  be  inexpressibly  disgusting.  The  feeling  of  the  chase, 
that  remnant  of  the  savage,  rules  in  the  arena,  and  mankind  has 
never  been  nice  or  tender^iearted  in  regard  to  the  sufferings  of 
animals,  when  influenced  by  the  destructive  propensities.  In 
England  no  sympathy  is  shown  for  game, — fish,  flesh,  or  fowl ; 
nor  for  vermin — stoats,  kites,  or  poachers.  The  end  of  the 
sport  is — death  ;  the  amusement  is  the  playing,  the  fine  run,  as 
the  ]3rolongation  of  animal  suffering  is  termed  in  the  tender 
vocabulary  of  the  Nimrods  ;  the  pang  of  mortal  sufferance  is  not 
regulated  by  the  size  of  the  victim  ;  the  bull  moreover  is  always 
put  at  once  out  of  his  misery,  and  never  exposed  to  the  thousand 
lingering  deaths  of  the  poor  wounded  hare  ;  therefore  we  must 
not  see  a  toro  in  Spanish  eyes  and  wink  at  the  fox  in  our 
own,  nor 

"  Compound  for  vices  we  're  inclined  to 
By  damning  those  we  have  no  mind  to." 

It  is  not  clear  that  animal  suffering  on  the  whole  predominates 
over  animal  happiness.  The  bull  roams  in  ample  pastures, 
through  a  youth  and  manhood  free  from  toil,  and  when  killed  in 
the  plaza  only  anticipates  by  a  few  months  the  certain  fate  of  the 
imprisoned,  over-laboured,  mutilated  ox. 

In  Spain,  where  capital  is  scanty,  person  and  property  insecure 
(evils  not  quite  corrected  since  the  late  democratic  reforms),  no 
one  would  adventure  on  the  speculation  of  breeding  cattle  on  a 
large  scale,  where  the  return  is  so  distant,  without  the  certain 
demand  and  sale  created  by  the  amphitheatre ;  and  as  a  small 
proportion  only  of  the  produce  possess  the  requisite  qualifications, 
the  surplus  and  females  go  to  tlie  plough  and  market,  and  can  be 
sold  cheaper  from  the  profit  made  on  tlie  bulls.  Spanish  political 
economists  jorotJec?  that  many  valuable  animals  were  wasted  in  the 
arena — but  their  theories  vanished  before  the  fact,  that  the  supply 
of  cattle  was  rapidly  diminished  when  bull-fights  were  suppressed. 
Similar  results  take  place  as  regards  the  breed  of  horses,  though 
in  a  minor  degree ;  those,  moreover,  which  are  sold  to  the  Plaza 
would  never  be  bought  by  any  one  else.  With  respect  to  the  loss 
of  human  life,  in  no  land  is  a  man  worth  so  little  as  in  Spain  ;  and 
more  English  aldermen  are  killed  indirectly  by  turtles,  than  Anda- 
lucian  picadors  directly  by  bulls ;  while,  as  to  time,  these  exhibi- 


tions  always  take  place  on  holidays,  which  even  indvistrious 
Britons  bouse  away  occasionally  in  pothouses,  and  idle  Spaniards 
invariably  smoke  out  in  sunshiny  dolce  far  niente.  The  attend- 
ance, again,  of  idle  spectators  prevents  idleness  in  the  nume- 
rous classes  employed  directly  and  indirectly  in  getting  up  and 
carrying  out  this  expensive  spectacle. 

It  is  pool  and  illogical  philosophy  to  judge  of  foreign  customs 
by  our  own  habits,  prejudices,  and  conventional  opinions  ;  a  cold, 
unprepared,  calculating  stranger  comes  without  the  freemasonry 
of  early  associations,  and  criticises  minutias  which  are  lost  on  the 
natives  in  their  enthusiasm  and  feeling  for  the  whole.  He  is 
horrified  by  details  to  which  the  Spaniards  have  become  as  ac- 
customed as  hospital  nurses,  whose  finer  sympathetic  emotions  of 
pity  are  deadened  by  repetition. 

A  most  difficult  thing  it  is  to  change  long-established  usages  and 
customs  with  which  we  are  familiar  from  our  early  days,  and  which 
have  come  down  to  us  connected  with  many  fond  remembrances. 
We  are  slow  to  suspect  any  evil  or  harm  in  such  practices  ;  we 
dislike  to  look  the  evidence  of  facts  in  the  face,  and  shrink  from 
a  conclusion  which  would  require  the  abandonment  of  a  recrea- 
tion, which  we  have  long  regarded  as  innocent,  and  in  which  we, 
as  well  as  our  parents  befoi-e  us,  have  not  scrupled  to  indulge. 
Children,  Vage  sans  pitie,  do  not  speculate  on  cruelty,  whether 
in  bull-baiting  or  bird's-nesting,  and  Spaniards  are  brought  up  to 
the  bull-fight  from  their  infancy,  when  they  are  too  simple  to 
speculate  on  abstract  questions,  but  associate  with  the  Plaza  all 
their  ideas  of  reward  for  good  conduct,  of  finely  and  holiday  ;  in  a 
land  where  amusements  are  few — they  catch  the  contagion  ot 
pleasure,  and  in  their  young  bias  of  imitation  approve  of  what 
is  approved  of  by  their  parents.  They  return  to  their  homes 
unchanged — playful,  timid,  or  serious,  as  before  ;  their  kindly, 
social  feelings  are  uninjured  :  and  where  is  the  filial  or  parental 
bond  more  aflTectionately  cherished  than  in  Spain — where  are  the 
noble  courtesies  of  life,  the  kind,  considerate,  self-respecting  de- 
meanour so  exemplified  as  in  Spanish  society  ? 

The  successive  feelings  experienced  by  most  foreigners  are  ad- 
miration, compassion,  and  weariness  of  the  flesh.  The  first  will 
be  readily  understood,  as  it  will  that  the  horses'  sufferings  cannot 
be  beheld  by  novices  without  compassion :  "  In  troth  it  was  more 

316  PHILOSOPHY  OF  THE  BULL-FIGHT.       [chap.  xxii. 

a  pittie  than  a  delight,"  wrote  the  herald  of  Lord  Nottingham. 
This  feeling,  however,  regards  the  animals  who  are  forced  into 
wounds  and  death  ;  the  men  scarcely  excite  much  of  it,  since  they 
willingly  court  the  danger,  and  liave  therefore  no  right  to  com- 
plain. These  heroes  of  low  life  are  applauded,  well  paid,  and 
their  risk  is  more  apparent  than  real ;  our  British  feelings  of  fair 
play  make  us  side  rather  with  the  poor  bull  who  is  overmatched  ; 
we  res[)ect  the  gallantry  of  his  unequal  defence.  Such  must 
always  be  tlie  effect  produced  on  those  not  bred  and  brought  up 
to  such  scenes.  So  Livy  relates  that,  when  the  gladiatorial  shows 
were  first  introduced  by  the  Romans  into  Asia,  the  natives  were 
more  frightened  tlian  pleased,  but  by  leading  them  on  from  sham- 
fights  to  real,  they  became  as  fond  of  tliem  as  the  Romans.  Tiie 
predominant  sensation  experienced  by  ourselves  was  bore,  the 
same  thing  over  and  over  again,  and  too  much  of  it.  But  that 
is  the  case  with  everything  in  Spain,  where  processions  and  pro- 
fessions are  interminable.  The  younger  Pliny,  who  was  no 
amateur,  complained  of  the  eternal  sameness  of  seeing  what  to  have 
seen  once,  was  enough  ;  just  as  Dr.  Johnson,  when  he  witnessed  a 
horse-race,  observed  that  he  had  not  met  with  such  a  proof  of  the 
paucity  of  human  pleasures  as  in  the  popularity  of  such  a  spectacle. 
But  the  life  of  Spaniards  is  uniform,  and  their  sensations,  not  being 
blunted  by  satiety,  are  intense.  Their  bull-fight  to  them  is  always 
new  and  exciting,  since  the  more  the  toresque  intellect  is  culti- 
vated the  greater  the  capacity  for  enjoyment ;  they  see  a  thousand 
minute  beauties  in  the  character  and  conduct  of  the  combatants, 
which  escape  the  superficial  unlearned  glance  of  the  uninitiated. 

Spanish  ladies,  against  whom  every  puny  scribbler  shoots  his 
petty  barbed  arrow,  are  relieved  from  the  infliction  of  ennui,  by 
the  never-flagging,  ever-sustained  interest,  in  being  admired.  Tliey 
have  no  abstract  nor  Pasiphaic  predilections  ;  they  were  taken  to 
the  bull-fight  before  they  knew  their  alphabet,  or  what  love  was. 
Nor  have  we  heard  that  it  has  ever  rendered  them  particularly 
cruel,  save  and  except  some  of  the  elderly  and  tougher  lower- 
classed  females.  The  younger  and  more  tender  scream  and  are 
dreadfully  affected  in  all  real  moments  of  danger,  in  spite  of  their 
long  familiarity.  Their  grand  object,  after  all,  is  not  to  see  the 
bull,  but  to  lat  themselves  and  their  dresses  be  seen.  The  better 
classes  generally  interpose  their  fans  at  the  most  painful  inci- 


dents,  and  certainly  show  no  want  of  sensibility.  The  lower 
orders  of  females,  as  a  body,  behave  quite  as  I'espectably  as  those 
of  other  countries  do  at  executions,  or  other  dreadful  scenes, 
where  they  crowd  with  their  babies.  The  case  with  English 
ladies  is  far  different.  They  have  heard  the  bull-fight  not  praised 
from  their  childhood,  but  condemned ;  they  see  it  for  the  first 
time  when  grown  up  ;  curiosity  is  perhaps  their  leading  feature 
in  sharing  an  amusement,  of  which  they  have  an  indistinct  idea 
that  pleasure  will  be  mixed  with  pain.  The  first  sight  delights 
them ;  a  flushed,  excited  cheek,  betrays  a  feeling  that  they  are 
almost  ashamed  to  avow ;  but  as  the  bloody  tragedy  proceeds, 
they  get  frightened,  disgusted,  and  disappointed.  Few  are  able 
to  sit  out  more  than  one  course,  and  fewer  ever  re-enter  the 
amphitheatre — 

"  The  heart  that  is  soonest  awake  to  the  flower 
Is  always  the  first  to  be  touched  by  the  thorn." 

Probably  a  Spanish  woman,  if  she  could  be  placed  in  precisely 
the  same  condition,  would  not  act  very  differently,  and  some- 
thing of  a  similar  test  would  be  to  bring  her,  for  the  first  time, 
to  an  English  boxing-match.  Be  this  as  it  may,  far  from  us 
and  from  our  friends  be  that  frigid  philosophy,  which  would 
infer  that  their  blight  eyes,  darting  the  shafts  of  Cupid,  will 
glance  one  smile  the  less  from  witnessing  these  more  merciful 

318  SPANISH  AMUSEMENTS.  [chap,  xxiii. 


Spanish  Theatre ;  Old  and  Modern  Drama;  Arrangement  of  Plaj^ bouses— 
The  Henroost  —  The  Fandango;  National  Dances  —  A  Gipsy  Ball  — 
Italian  Opera — National  Songs  and  Guitars. 

Having  seen  a  bull-fight,  the  sight  of  Spain,  those  who  only 
wish  to  pass  time  agreeably  cannot  be  too  quick  in  getting  their 
passports  vised  for  Naples.  A  pleasant  country  life,  according  to 
our  notions,  in  Spain,  is  a  tiling  that  is  not ;  and  the  substitute  is 
but  aBedouin  Oriental  makeshift  existence,  which, amusingenough 
for  a  spurt,  will  not  do  in  the  long  run.  Nor  is  life  much  better 
in  the  toivns  i  those  in  the  inland  provinces  have  a  convent-like, 
dead,  old-fashioned  look  about  them,  which  petrifies  a  lively 
person  ;  nay  even  an  artist  when  he  has  finished  his  sketches,  is 
ready  to  commit  suicide  from  sheer  Bore,  the  genius  of  the  locality. 
Madrid  itself  is  but  an  unsocial,  second-rate,  inhospitable  city ; 
and  when  the  traveller  has  seen  the  Museum,  been  to  the  play, 
and  walked  on  the  eternal  roundabout  Prado,  the  sooner  he 
shakes  the  dust  oflf  his  feet  the  better.  The  maritime  seaports, 
as  in  the  East,  from  being  frequented  by  the  foreigner,  are  a 
trifle  more  cosmopolitan,  cheerful,  and  amusing ;  but  generally 
speaking,  public  amusements  are  rare  througliout  this  semi-Moro 
land.  The  calm  contemplation  of  a  cigar,  and  the  dolcefar  nieiite 
of  siestose  quiet  indolence  with  unexciting  twaddle,  suffice  ;  while 
to  some  nations  it  is  a  pain  to  be  out  of  pleasure,  to  the  Spaniard 
it  is  a  pleasure  to  be  out  of  painful  exertion  :  existence  is  happi- 
ness enough  of  itself ;  and  as  for  occupation,  all  desire  only  to  do 
to-day  what  they  did  yesterday  and  will  do  to-morrow,  that  is  no- 
tliing.  Thus  life  slips  away  in  a  dreamy,  listless  routine,  the  serious 
business  of  love-making  excepted  ;  leave  me,  leave  me,  to  repose 
and  tobacco.  When  however  awake,  the  Alameda,  or  church- 
show,  the  bull-fight,  and  the  rendezvous,  are  the  chief  relaxations. 
These  will  be  best  enjoyed  in  the  Southern  provinces,  the  laud 

CHAP,  xxui.]  THE  THEATRE.  319 

also  of  the  song  and  dance,  of  bright  suns  and  eyes,  and  not  the 
largest  female  feet  in  the  world. 

The  theatre,  which  forms  elsewhere  such  an  important  item  in 
passing  the  stranger's  evening,  is  at  a  low  ebb  in  Spain,  although, 
as  everybody  is  idle,  and  man  is  not  worn  out  by  business  and 
money-making  all  day,  it  might  be  supposed  to  be  just  the  thing  ; 
but  it  is  somewhat  too  expensive  for  the  general  poverty.  Those 
again  who  for  forty  years  have  had  real  tragedies  at  home,  lack 
that  superabundance  of  felicity,  which  will  pay  for  the  liixuiy  of 
fictitious  grief  abroad.  In  truth  the  drama  in  Spain  was,  like 
most  other  matters,  the  creature  of  an  accident  and  of  a  period  ; 
patronised  by  the  pleasure-loving  Philip  IV.,  it  blossomed  in 
the  sunshine  of  his  smile,  languished  when  that  was  witlidrawn, 
and  was  unable  to  resist  the  steady  hostility  of  the  clergy,  who 
opposed  this  rival  to  their  own  religious  spectacles  and  church 
melodramas,  from  which  tile  opposition  stage  sprung.  Nor  are 
their  primitive  mediseval  Mysteries  yet  obsolete,  since  we  have 
beheld  them  acted  in  Spain  at  Easter  time  ;  then  and  there  sacred 
subjects,  grievously  profaned  to  Protestant  eyes,  were  gazed  on  by 
the  pleased  natives  with  too  sincere  and  simple  faith  even  to  allow 
a  suspicion  of  the  gross  absurdity;  but  everywhere  in  Spain, 
the  spiritual  has  been  materialised,  and  the  divine  degraded  to 
the  human  in  churches  and  out  ;  the  clergy  attacked  the  stage, 
by  denying  burial  to  the  actors  when  dead,  who,  when  alive,  were 
not  allowed  to  call  themselves  "  Don"  the  cherished  title  of 
every  Spaniard.  Naturally,  as  no  one  of  this  self-respecting 
nation  ever  will  pursue  a  despised  profession  if  he  can  help  it, 
few  have  chosen  to  make  themselves  vagabonds  by  Act  of  Par- 
liament, nor  has  any  Garrick  or  Siddons  ever  arisen  among  them 
to  beat  down  prejudices  by  public  and  private  virtues. 

Even  in  this  19th  century,  confessors  of  families  forbade  the 
women  and  ciiildren's  even  passing  through  the  street  where  "a 
temple  of  Satan "  was  reared;  mendicant  monks  placed  them- 
selves near  the  playhouse  doors  at  niglit,  to  warn  the  headlong 
against  the  bottondess  pit,  just  as  our  methodists  on  the  day  of 
the  Derby  distribute  tracts  at  turnpikes  against  "  sweeps  "  and 
racing.  The  monks  at  Cordova  succeeded  in  1823  in  shutting 
up  the  theatre,  because  the  nuns  of  an  opposite  convent  observed 
the  devil  ai  d  his  partners  dancing  fandangos  on  the  roof.     Al- 

820  ANCIENT  DRAMA.  [chap,  xxm 

though  monks  have  in  their  turn  been  driven  off  the  Spanish 
boards,  the  national  drama  has  almost  made  its  exit  with  them. 
The  genuine  old  stage  held  up  the  mirror  to  Spanish  nature,  and 
exhibited  real  life  and  manners.  Its  object  was  rather  to  amuse 
than  to  instruct,  and  like  literature,  its  sister  exponent  of  exist- 
ing nationality,  it  showed  in  action  what  the  picaresque  novels 
detailed  in  description.  In  both  the  haughty  Hidalgo  v,'as  the 
hero ;  cloaked  and  armed  with  long  rapier  and  mustachios,  he 
stalked  on  the  scene,  made  love  and  fought  as  became  an  old 
Castilian  whom  Charles  V.  had  rendered  the  terror  and  the 
model  of  Europe.  Spain  then,  like  a  successful  beauty,  took  a 
proud  pleasure  in  looking  at  herself  in  the  glass,  but  now  that 
things  are  altered,  she  blushes  at  beholding  a  portrait  of  her  grey 
hairs  and  wrinkles  ;  her  flag  is  tattered,  her  robes  are  torn,  and  she 
shrinks  from  the  humiliation  of  truth.  If  she  appears  on  the 
theatre  at  all,  it  is  to  revive  long  by-gone  days — to  raise  the  Cid, 
the  great  Captain,  or  Pizarro,  from  their  graves ;  thus  blinking 
the  present,  she  forms  hopes  for  a  bright  future  by  the  revival  and 
recollections  of  a  glorious  past.  Accordingly  plays  representing 
modern  Spanish  life  and  things,  are  scouted  by  pit  and  boxes  as 
vulgar  and  misplaced  ;  nay,  even  Lope  de  Vega  is  now  known 
merely  by  name ;  his  comedies  are  banislied  from  the  boards  to 
the  shelves  of  book-cases,  and  those  for  the  most  part  out  of 
Spain.  lie  has  paid  the  certain  penalty  of  his  national  localism, 
of  his  portraying  men,  as  a  Spanish  variety,  rather  than  a  uni- 
versal species.  He  has  strutted  his  hour  on  the  stage,  is  heard 
no  more  ;  while  his  contemporary,  the  bard  of  Avon,  who  drew 
mankind  and  human  nature,  the  same  in  all  times  and  places,  lives 
in  the  human  heart  as  immortal  as  the  principle  on  which  his 
influence  is  founded. 

In  the  old  Spanish  plays,  the  imaginary  scenes  were  no  less 
full  of  intrigue  than  were  the  real  streets  ;  then  the  point  of 
honour  was  nice,  women  were  immured  in  jealous  hareems,  and 
access  to  them,  which  is  easier  now,  formed  the  difticulty  of  lovers. 
The  curiosity  of  the  spectators  was  kept  on  tenter-hooks,  to  see 
how  the  parties  could  get  at  each  other,  and  out  of  the  consequent 
scrapes.  These  imbroglios  and  labyrinths  exactly  suited  a  pays 
de  Vimprevu,  where  tilings  turn  out,  just  as  is  the  least  likelv  to 
be  calculated  on.      The  progress  of  the  drama  of  Spain  was  as 


full  of  action  and  energy,  as  that  of  France  was  of  dull  description 
and  declamation.  The  Bourbon  succession,  which  ruined  the 
genuine  bull-figlit,  destroyed  the  national  drama  also ;  a  flood  of 
unities,  rules,  stilted  nonsense,  and  conventionalities  poured  over 
the  astonished  and  affrighted  Pyrenees :  now  the  stage,  like  the 
arena,  was  condemned  by  critics,  whose  one-idead  civilization 
could  see  but  one  class  of  excellence,  and  that  only  through 
a  lorgnette  ground  in  the  Palais  Royal.  Calderon  was  pro- 
nounced to  be  as  great  a  barbarian  as  Shakspere,  and  this  by 
empty  pretenders  wlio  did  not  understand  one  word  of  either  ; — 
and  now  again,  at  this  second  Bourbon  irruption,  France  has 
become  the  model  to  that  very  nation  from  whom  lier  Corneilles 
and  Molieres  pilfered  many  a  plume,  wliich  aided  them  to  soar 
to  dramatic  fame.  Spain  is  now  reduced  to  the  sad  shift  of 
borrowing  from  her  pupil,  those  very  arts  which  she  herself  once 
taught,  and  her  best  comedies  and  farces  are  but  poor  trans- 
lations from  Mons.  Scribe  and  other  scribes  of  the  vaudeville. 
Pier  theatre,  like  everything  else,  has  sunk  into  a  pale  copy  of 
her  dominant  neighbour,  and  is  devoid  alike  of  originality,  in- 
terest, and  nationality. 

It  was  from  Spain  also  that  Europe  copied  the  arrangement 
of  the  modern  tiieatre ;  the  first  playhouses  there  were  merely 
open  covered  court-yards,  after  the  classical  fashion  of  Thespis. 
The  patio  became  the  pit,  into  which  women  were  never  ad- 
mitted. The  rich  sat  at  the  windows  of  the  houses  round  the 
court;  and  as  almost  all  these  in  Spain  are  defended  by  iron 
gratings,  the  French  took  their  term,  loge  grillee,  for  a  private 
box.  In  the  centre  of  the  house,  above  the  pit,  was  a  sort  of 
large  lower  gallery,  which  was  called  la  tertulia,  a  name  given  in 
those  times  to  the  quarter  chosen  by  the  erudite,  among  whom  at 
that  period  it  was  the  fashion  to  quote  Tertulian.  The  women, 
excluded  from  the  pit,  had  a  place  reserved  for  tliemselves, 
into  which  no  males  were  allowed  to  enter— a  peculiarity  based 
in  the  Gotho-Moro  separation  of  the  sexes.  This  feminine 
preserve  was  termed  la  cazuela,  the  stewing  pan,  or  la  alia,  the 
pipkin,  from  the  liodgepotch  admixture,  as  it  was  open  to  all 
ranks  ;  it  was  also  called  "  lajaula  delas  vmgeres"  the  women's 
cage— "f/  cjallinero"  the  henroost.  All  went  there,  as  to 
church,  dressed  in  black,  and  with  mantillas.     This  dark  assem- 

322  SPANISH  TEAGEDY.  [chap,  xxiii. 

blage  of  sable  tresses,  raven  hair,  and  blacker  eyes,  looked  at  the 
first  glance  like  the  gallery  of  a  nunnery  ;  that  was,  however,  a 
simile  of  dissimilitude,  for,  let  there  be  but  a  moment's  pause  in 
the  business  of  the  play,  then  arose  such  a  cooing  and  cawing  in 
this  rookery  of  tuitle-doves, — such  an  ogling,  such  a  flutter  of 
mantillas,  such  a  rustling  of  silks,  such  telegraphic  workings  of 
fans,  such  an  electrical  connnunication  with  the  Seiiores  below, 
who  looked  vip  with  wistful  glances  on  the  dark  clustering 
vine3'ard  so  tantalizingly  placed  above  their  reach,  as  effectually 
dispelled  all  ideas  of  seclusion,  sorrow,  or  mortification.  This 
unique  and  charming  pipkin  has  been  just  now  done  away  with 
at  Madrid,  because,  as  there  is  no  such  thing  at  Covent  Garden, 
or  Le  Frangais,  it  might  look  antiquated  and  un- European. 

The  theatres  of  Spain  are  small,  altliough  called  Coliseums,  and 
ill-contrived  ;  the  wardrobe  and  properties  are  as  scanty  as  those  of 
the  spectators,  Madrid  itself  not  excepted  ;  when  filled,  the  smells 
are  ultra-continental,  and  resemble  those  which  prevail  at  Paris, 
when  the  great  people  is  indulged  with  a  gratis  representation  ; 
in  the  Spanish  theatres  no  neutralizing  incense  is  used,  as  is  done 
by  the  wise  clergy  in  their  churches.  If  the  atmosphere  were 
analysed  by  Faraday,  it  would  be  found  to  contain  equal  portions 
of  stale  cigar  smoke  and  fresh  garlic  fume.  The  lighting,  except 
on  those  rare  occasions  when  the  theatre  is  illuminated,  as  it  is 
called,  is  just  intended  to  make  darkness  visible,  and  there  was 
no  seeing  into  the  henroosts  towards  which  the  eyes  and  glasses 
of  the  foxite  pittites  were  vainly  elevated. 

Spanisli  tragedy,  even  when  the  Cid  spouts,  is  wearisome ;  the 
language  is  stilty,  the  declamation  ranting,  French,  and  unna- 
tural ;  passion  is  torn  to  rags.  The  sainetes,  or  farces,  are 
broad,  but  amusing,  and  are  perfectly  well  acted  ;  the  national 
ones  are  disappearing,  but  when  brought  out  are  tlie  true  vehi- 
cles of  the  love  for  sarcasm,  satire,  and  intrigue,  the  mirth 
and  mother-wit,  for  which  Spaniards  are  so  remarkable  ;  and  no 
people  are  more  essentially  serio-comic  and  dramatic  than  they 
are,  whether  in  Venta,  Plaza,  or  church ;  the  actors  in  their 
amusing  farces  cease  to  be  actors,  and  tlie  whole  appears  to  be  a 
scene  of  real  life  ;  there  generally  is  a  gracioso  or  favourite  wag 
of  the  Listen  and  Keeley  species,  who  is  on  the  best  terms  with 
the  pit,  who  says  and  does  what  he  likes,  interlards  the  dialogue 

CHAP.  xxiiT.]  THE  BOLERO.  323 

with  his  own  witticisms,  and  creates  a  laugh  before  he  even 
comes  on. 

The  orchestra  is  very  indifferent ;  the  Spaniards  are  fond  enough 
of  what  they  call  music,  whether  vocal  or  instrumental ;  but  it  is 
Oriental,  and  most  unlike  the  exquisite  melody  and  performances 
of  Italy  or  Germany.  In  the  sanie  manner,  although  they  have 
footed  it  to  their  rude  songs  from  time  immemorial,  they  have  no 
idea  of  the  grace  and  elegance  of  the  French  ballet ;  the  moment 
they  attempt  it  they  become  ridiculous,  for  they  are  bad  imitators 
of  their  neighbours,  whether  in  cuisine,  language,  or  costume; 
indeed  a  Spaniard  ceases  to  be  a  Spaniard  in  proportion  as  he 
becomes  an  Afrancesado ;  they  take,  in  their  jumpings  and 
chirpings,  after  the  grasshopper,  having  a  natural  genius  for  the 
bota  and  bolero.  The  great  charm  of  the  Spanish  theatres  is 
their  own  national  dance — matchless,  unequalled,  and  inimitable, 
and  only  to  be  performed  by  Andalucians.  This  is  la  salsa  de 
la  comedia,  the  essence,  the  cream,  the  sauce  piquante  of  the 
night's  entertainments  ;  it  is  attempted  to  be  described  in  every 
book  of  travels — for  who  can  describe  sound  or  motion?— it 
must  be  seen.  However  languid  the  house,  laughable  the  tra- 
gedy, or  serious  the  comedy,  the  sound  of  the  castanet  awakens 
the  most  listless  ;  the  sharp,  spirit-stirring  click  is  heard  beliind 
the  scenes — the  effect  is  instantaneous — it  creates  life  under  the 
ribs  of  death — it  silences  the  tongues  of  countless  women  —  on 
n'ecoute  que  le  ballet.  The  curtain  draws  up  ;  the  bounding 
pair  dart  forward  from  the  opposite  sides,  like  two  separated 
lovers,  who,  after  long  search,  have  found  each  other  again, 
nor  do  they  seem  to  think  of  the  public,  but  only  of  each  other ; 
the  glitter  of  the  gossamer  costume  of  the  Majo  and  Maja  seems 
invented  for  this  dance — the  sparkle  of  the  gold  lace  and  silver 
filigree  adds  to  the  lightness  of  their  motions ;  the  transparent, 
form  designing  saya  of  the  lady,  heightens  the  cliarms  of  a  fault- 
less symmetry  which  it  fain  would  conceal ;  no  cruel  stays  fetter 
her  serpentine  flexibility.  They  pause — bend  forward  an  instant 
— prove  their  supple  limbs  and  arms  ;  the  band  strikes  up,  they 
turn  fondly  towards  each  otiier,  and  start  into  life.  What 
exercise  displays  the  ever-varying  charms  of  female  grace,  and 
the  contours  of  manly  form,  like  this  fascinating  dance  ?  The 
accompaniment  of  the  castanet  gives  employment  to  their  up- 

324  NATIONAL  DANCES.  [chap,  xxiri. 

raised  arms.  C'est,  say  the  French,  le  pantomime  d'amour. 
The  enamoured  youth  persecutes  the  coy,  coquettish  maiden  ; 
who  shall  describe  the  advance — her  timid  retreat,  his  eager 
pursuit,  like  Apollo  chasing  Daphne  ?  Now  they  gaze  on  each 
other,  now  on  the  ground ;  now  all  is  life,  love,  and  action ; 
now  there  is  a  pause — they  stop  motionless  at  a  moment,  and 
grow  into  the  earth.  It  carries  all  before  it.  There  is  a  truth 
which  overpowers  the  fastidious  judgment.  Away,  then,  with 
the  studied  grace  of  the  French  dariseuse.  beautiful  but  artificial, 
cold  and  selfish  as  is  the  flicker  of  her  love,  compared  to  the  real 
impassioned  abandon  of  the  daughters  of  the  South  !  There  is 
nothing  indecent  in  this  dance ;  no  one  is  tired  or  the  worse  for 
it ;  indeed  its  only  fault  is  its  being  too  short,  for  as  Moliere  says, 
"  Un  ballet  ne  saurait  etre  trop  long,  pourvu  que  la  morale  soit 
bonne,  et  la  metaphysique  bien  entendue."  Notwithstanding  this 
most  profound  remark,  the  Toledan  clergy  out  of  mere  jealousy 
wished  to  put  the  bolero  down,  on  the  pretence  of  immorality. 
The  dancers  were  allowed  in  evidence  to  "  give  a  view  "  to  the 
court :  wlien  they  began,  the  bench  and  bar  showed  symptoms  of 
restlessness,  and  at  last,  casting  aside  gowns  and  briefs,  both 
joined,  as  if  tarantula-bitten,  in  the  irresistible  capering — Ver- 
dict, for  the  defendants  with  costs. 

This  J3aile  na.cional,  however  adored  by  foreigners,  is,  alas ! 
beginning  to  be  looked  down  upon  by  those  ill-advised  seiioras 
who  wear  French  bonnets  in  the  boxes,  instead  of  Spanish  man- 
tillas. The  dance  is  suspected  of  not  being  European  or  civil- 
ized ;  its  best  chance  of  surviving  is,  the  fact  that  it  is  positively 
fashionable  on  the  boards  of  London  and  Paris.  These  national 
exercises  are  however  firmly  rooted  among  the  peasants  and 
lower  classes.  The  different  provinces,  as  they  have  a  different 
language,  costume,  &c.,  have  also  their  own  peculiar  local 
dances,  which,  like  their  wines,  fine  arts,  relics,  saints  and  sau- 
sages, can  only  be  really  relished  on  the  spots  themselves. 

The  dances  of  the  better  classes  of  Spaniards  in  private  life 
are  much  the  same  as  in  other  parts  of  Europe,  nor  is  either  sex 
particularly  distinguished  by  grace  in  this  amusement,  to  which, 
however,  both  are  much  addicted.  It  is  not,  however,  yet  thought 
to  be  a  proof  of  bon  ton  to  dance  as  badly  as  possible,  and  with 
the  greatest  appearance  of  bore,  that  appanage  of  the  so-called  gay 

CHAP.  xxiii.J  PRIVATE  DANCES.  325 

world.  These  dances,  as  everything'  national  is  excluded,  are 
without  a  particle  of  interest  to  any  one  except  the  performers. 
An  extempoi'e  ball,  which  might  be  called  a  cai-pet-dance,  if 
there  were  any,  forms  the  common  conclusion  of  a  winter's  tertu- 
lia,  or  social  meetings,  at  which  no  great  attention  is  paid  either 
to  music,  costume,  or  Mr.  Gunter.  Here  English  country 
dances,  French  quadrilles,  and  German  waltzes  are  the  order  of  the 
night ;  everything  Spanish  being  excluded,  except  the  plentiful 
want  of  good  fiddling,  lighting,  dressing,  and  eating,  which  never 
distresses  the  company,  for  the  frugal,  temperate,  and  easily- 
pleased  Spaniard  enters  with  schoolboy  heart  and  soul  into  the 
reality  of  any  holiday,  which  being  joy  sufficient  of  itself  lacks 
no  artificial  enhancement. 

Dancing  at  all  is  a  novelty  among  Spanish  ladies,  which  was 
introduced  with  the  Bourbons.  As  among  the  Romans  and 
Moors,  it  was  before  thought  undignified.  Performers  were 
hired  to  amuse  the  inmates  of  the  Christian  hareem  ;  to  mix  and 
change  hands  with  men  was  not  to  be  thought  of  for  an  instant ; 
and  to  this  day  few  Spanish  women  shake  hands  with  men — the 
shock  is  too  electrical ;  they  only  give  them  with  their  hearts, 
and  for  good. 

The  lower  classes,  who  are  a  trifle  less  particular,  and  among 
whom,  by  the  blessing  of  Santiago,  the  foreign  dancing-master 
is  not  abroad,  adhere  to  the  primitive  steps  and  tunes  of  their 
Oriental  forefathers.  Their  accompaniments  are  the  "  tabret 
and  the  harp  ;"  the  guitar,  the  tambourine,  and  the  castanet. 
The  essence  of  these  instruments  is  to  o-ive  a  noise  on  beins: 
beaten.  Simple  as  it  may  seem  to  play  on  the  latter,  it  is  only 
attained  by  a  quick  ear  and  finger,  and  great  practice  ;  accordingly 
these  delights  of  the  people  are  always  in  their  hands ;  practice 
makes  perfect,  and  many  a  performer,  dusky  as  a  Moor,  rivals 
Ethiopian  "  Bones"  himself;  they  take  to  it  before  their  alpha- 
bet, since  the  very  urchins  in  the  street  begin  to  learn  by  snap- 
ping their  fingers,  or  clicking  together  two  shells  orbits  of  slate, 
to  which  they  dance  ;  in  truth,  next  to  noise,  some  capering  seems 
(ssential,  as  the  safety-valve  exponents  of  what  Cervantes  de- 
scribes, the  "  bounding  of  the  soul,  the  bursting  of  laughter, 
the  restlessness  of  the  body,  and  the  quicksilver  of  the  five  senses." 
It  is  the  rude  sport  of  people  who  dance  from  the  necessity  of 


£26  MOllKIS  DANCES.  [chap,  xxiit. 

motion,  the  relief  of  the  young,  the  healthy,  and  the  joyous, 
to  whom  life  is  of  itself  a  blessing,  and  who,  like  skipping  kids, 
tlius  give  vent  to  their  superabundant  lightness  of  heart  and  limb. 
Sancho,  a  true  Manchegan,  after  beholding  the  strange  saltatory 
exhibitions  of  his  master,  in  somewhat  an  incorrect  ball  costume, 
professes  his  ignorance  of  such  elaborate  dancing,  but  maintained 
that  for  a  zapateo,  a  knocking  of  shoes,  none  could  beat  him. 
Unchanged  as  are  the  instruments,  so  are  the  dancing  propensi- 
ties of  Spaniards.  All  night  long,  three  thousand  years  ago,  say 
the  historians,  did  they  dance  and  sing,  or  rather  jump  and  yell, 
to  these  "  howl\ng&  of  Tarshish  ;"  and  so  far  from  its  being  a 
fatigue,  they  kept  up  the  ball  all  night,  by  way  of  resting. 

The  Gallicians  and  Asturians  retain  among  many  of  their  abo- 
riginal dances  and  tunes,  a  wild  Pyrrhic  jumping,  which,  with 
their  shillelah  in  hand,  is  like  the  Gaelic  Ghillee  Galium,  and  is  the 
precise  Iberian  armed  dance  which  Hannibal  had  performed  at 
the  impressive  funeral  of  Gracchus.  These  quadrille  figures  are 
intricate  and  warlike,  requiring,  as  was  said  of  the  Iberian  per- 
formances, much  leg-activity,  for  which  the  wiry  sinewy  active 
Spaniards  are  still  remarkable.  These  are  the  Morris  dances  im- 
ported from  Gallicia  by  our  John  of  Gaunt,  who  supposetl  they 
were  Moorish.  The  peasants  still  dance  them  in  their  best  cos- 
tumes, to  the  antique  castanet,  pipe,  and  tambourine.  They  are 
usually  directed  by  a  master  of  the  ceremonies,  or  what  is  equi- 
valent, a  parti-coloured  fool,  Mwpoc;  which  may  be  the  etymo- 
logy of  Morris. 

These  comparsas,  or  national  quadrilles,  were  the  hearty  wel- 
come which  the  peasants  were  paid  to  give  to  the  sons  of  Louis 
Philippe  at  Vitoria ;  such,  too,  we  have  often  beheld  gratis,  and 
performed  by  eight  men,  with  castanets  in  their  hands,  and  to 
the  tune  of  a  fife  and  drum,  while  a  Bastonero,  or  leader  of  the 
band,  clad  in  gaudy  raiment  like  a  pantaloon,  directed  the  rustic 
ballet ;  around  were  grouped  payesas  y  aldeanas,  dressed  in  tight 
bodices,  with  pcmuelos  on  their  heads,  their  hair  hanging  down 
behind  in  trensas,  and  their  necks  covered  with  blue  and  coral 
beads  ;  the  men  bound  up  their  long  locks  with  red  handkerchiefs, 
and  danced  in  their  shirts,  the  sleeves  of  which  were  puckered  up 
with  bows  of  different-coloured  ribands,  crossed  also  over  the 
back  and  breast,  and  mixed  with  scapularies  and  small  prints  of 

CHAP.  xxTii.]  GADITANIAN  GIRLS.  327 

saints ;  their  drawers  were  white,  and  full  as  the  hragas  of  the 
Valcncians,  like  whom  they  wore  alpargatas,  or  hemp  sandals 
laced  with  blue  strings  ;  the  figure  of  tlie  dance  was  very  intri- 
cate, consisting  of  much  circling,  turning,  and  jumping,  and  ac- 
companied with  loud  cries  of  viva !  at  each  change  of  evolution. 
Tliese  comparsas  are  undoubtedly  a  remnant  of  the  original 
Iberian  exhibitions,  in  which,  as  among  the  Spartans  and  wild 
Indians,  even  in  relaxations  a  warlike  principle  was  maintained. 
The  dancers  beat  time  with  tlieir  swords  on  their  shields,  and 
when  one  of  their  champions  wished  to  show  his  contempt  for 
the  Romans,  he  executed  before  them  a  derisive  pirouette.  Was 
this  remembered  the  other  day  at  Vitoria  ? 

But  in  Spain  at  every  moment  one  retraces  the  steps  of  anti- 
quity ;  thus  still  on  the  banks  of  the  Boetis  may  be  seen  those 
dancing-girls  of  profligate  Gades,  which  were  exported  to  ancient 
Rome,  with  pickled  tunnies,  to  the  delight  of  wicked  epicures 
and  the  horror  of  the  good  fathers  of  the  early  church,  who 
compared  them,  and  perhaps  justly,  to  the  capering  performed 
by  the  daughter  of  Herodias.  They  were  prohibited  by  Theo- 
dosius,  because,  according  to  St.  Chrysostom,  at  such  balls  the 
devil  never  wanted  a  partner.  The  well-known  statue  at  Naples 
called  the  Venere  Callipige  is  the  representation  of  Telethusa,  or 
some  other  Cadiz  dancing-girl.  Seville  is  now  in  these  matters, 
what  Gades  was  ;  never  there  is  wanting  some  venerable  gipsy  hag, 
who  will  get  up  a.funcion  as  these  pretty  proceedings  are  called, 
a  word  taken  from  the  pontifical  ceremonies ;  for  Italy  set  the 
fashion  to  Spain  once,  as  France  does  now.  These  festivals  must 
be  paid  for,  since  the  gitanesque  race,  according  to  Cervantes, 
were  only  sent  into  this  world  as  "  fishhooks  for  purses."  The 
callees  when  young  are  very  pretty — then  they  have  such  wheedling 
ways,  and  traffic  on  such  sure  wants  and  wishes,  since  to  Spanish 
men  they  prophesy  gold,  to  women,  husbands. 

The  scene  of  the  ball  is  generally  placed  in  the  suburb  Triana, 
which  is  the  Transtevere  of  tlie  town,  and  the  home  of  bull- 
fighters, smugglers,  picturesque  rogues,  and  Egyptians,  whose 
women  are  the  premieres  danseuses  on  these  occasions,  in  which 
men  never  take  a  part.  The  house  selected  is  usually  one  of  those 
semi-Moorish  abodes  and  perfect  pictures,  where  rags,  poverty, 
and  ruin,  are  mixed  up  with  marble  columns,  figs,  fountains  and 


328  GIPSY  DANCE.  [  chap,  xxiii. 

grapes ;  the  party  assembles  in  some  stately  saloon,  whose  gilded 
Arab  roof — safe  from  the  spoiler — hangs  over  whitewashed  walls, 
and  the  few  wooden  benches  on  which  the  chaperons  and  invited 
are  seated,  among  whom  quantity  is  rather  preferred  to  quality ; 
nor  would  the  company  or  costume  perhaps  be  admissible  at  the 
Mansion-house ;  but  here  the  past  triumphs  over  the  present ; 
the  dance  which  is  closely  analogous  to  the  Ghowasee  of  the 
Egyptians,  and  tlie  Nautch  of  tlie  Hindoos,  is  called  the  Ole  by 
Spaniards,  the  JRomalis  by  their  gipsies ;  the  soul  and  essence  of 
it  consists  in  the  expression  of  certain  sentiment,  one  not  indeed 
of  a  very  sentimental  or  correct  character.  The  ladies,  who  seem 
to  have  no  bones,  resolve  the  problem  of  perpetual  motion,  their 
feet  having  comparatively  a  sinecure,  as  the  whole  person  per- 
forms a  pantomime,  and  trembles  like  an  aspen  leaf;  the  flexible 
form  and  Terpsichore  figure  of  a  young  Andalucian  girl — be  she 
gipsy  or  not — is  said  by  the  learned,  to  have  been  designed  by 
nature  as  the  fit  frame  for  her  voluptuous  imagination. 

Be  that  as  it  may,  the  scholar  and  classical  commentator  will 
every  moment  quote  Martial,  &c.,  when  he  beholds  the  un- 
changed balancing  of  hands,  raised  as  if  to  catch  show"ers  of  roses, 
the  tapping  of  the  feet,  and  the  serpentine,  quivering  movements. 
A  contagious  excitement  seizes  the  spectators,  who,  like  Ori- 
entals, beat  time  with  their  hands  in  measured  cadence,  and  at 
every  pause  applaud  with  cries  and  clappings.  The  damsels, 
thus  encouraged,  continue  in  violent  action  vmtil  nature  is  all 
but  exhausted  ;  then  aniseed  brandy,  wine,  and  alpisteras  are 
handed  about,  and  the  fete,  carried  on  to  early  dawn,  often 
concludes  in  broken  heads,  which  here  are  called  "  gipsy's  fare." 
These  dances  appear  to  a  stranger  from  the  chilly  north,  to  be 
more  marked  by  energy  than  by  grace,  nor  have  the  legs  less  to 
do  than  the  body,  hips,  and  arms.  The  siglit  of  this  unchanged 
pastime  of  antiquity,  which  excites  the  Spaniards  to  frenzy, 
rather  disgusts  an  English  spectator,  possibly  from  some  national 
malorganization,  for,  as  Moliere  says,  "  I'Angleterre  a  produit 
des  grands  hommes  dans  les  sciences  et  les  beaux  arts,  mais  pas 
un  grand  danseur — allez  lire  I'histoire."  However  indecent  these 
dances  may  be,  yet  the  performers  are  inviolably  chaste,  and  as 
far  at  least  as  ungipsy  guests  are  concerned,  may  be  compared 
to  iced  punch  at  a  rout ;  young  girls  go  through  them  before  the 

CHAF.  xxiii.]  OPERA  IN  SPAIN.  329 

applauding  eyes  of  their  parents  and  brothers,  who  would  resent 
to  the  death  any  attempt  on  their  sisters'  virtue. 

During  tlie  lucid  intervals  between  the  ballet  and  the  brandy, 
La  cana,  the  true  Arabic  gaunia,  song,  is  administered  as  a 
soother  by  some  hirsute  artiste,  without  frills,  studs,  diamonds, 
or  kid  gloves,  whose  staves,  sad  and  melancholy,  always  begin 
and  end  with  an  ay !  a  high-pitched  sigh,  or  cry.  These 
Moorish  melodies,  relics  of  auld  lang  syne,  are  best  preserved  in 
the  hill-built  villages  near  Ronda,  where  there  are  no  roads  for  the 
members  of  Queen  Christina's  ConservatorioNapolitano ;  wherever 
I'academie  tyrannizes,  and  the  Italian  opera  prevails,  adieu,  alas ! 
to  the  tropes  and  tunes  of  the  people :  and  now-a-days  the  opera 
exotic  is  cultivated  in  Spain  by  the  higher  classes,  because,  being 
fashionable  at  London  and  Paris,  it  is  an  exponent  of  the  civili- 
zation of  1846.  Although  tiie  audience  in  their  honest  hearts 
are  as  much  bored  there  as  elsewhere,  yet  the  affair  is  pronounced 
by  them  to  be  charming,  because  it  is  so  expensive,  so  select, 
and  so  far  above  the  comprehension  of  the  vulgar.  Avoid  it, 
however,  in  Spain,  ye  our  fair  readers,  for  the  second-rate 
singers  are  not  fit  to  hold  the  score  to  those  of  thy  own  dear 

The  real  opera  of  Spain  is  in  the  shop  of  the  Barber o  or  in 
the  court-yard  of  the  Venta ;  in  truth,  good  music,  wliether 
harmonious  or  scientific,  vocal  or  instrumental,  is  seldom  heard 
in  this  land,  notwithstanding  the  eternal  strumming  and  singing 
that  is  going  on  there.  The  very  masses,  as  performed  in  the 
cathedrals,  from  tiie  introduction  of  tlie  pianoforte  and  the 
violin,  have  very  little  impressive  or  devotional  character.  The 
fiddle  disenchants.  Even  Murillo,  when  he  clapped  catgut  under 
a  cherub  chin  in  the  clouds,  thereby  damaged  the  angelic  senti- 
ment. Let  none  despise  the  genuine  songs  and  instruments  of 
the  Peninsula,  as  excellence  in  music  is  multiform,  and  much  of 
it,  both  in  name  and  substance,  is  conventional.  Witness  a 
whining  ballad  sung  by  a  chorus  out  of  work,  to  encoring  crowds 
in  the  streets  of  merry  old  England,  or  a  bagpipe-tune  played  in 
Ross-shire,  which  enchants  the  highlanders,  who  cry  that  strain 
again,  but  scares  away  the  gleds.  Let  therefore  the  Spaniards  enjoy 
also  what  they  call  music,  although  fastidious  foreigners  condemn 
it  as  Iberian  and  Oriental.     They  love  to  have  it  so,  and  will 

330  MUSIC  IN  VENTAS.  [chap.  xxm. 

have  their  own  way,  in  their  own  time  and  tune,  Rossini  and 
Paganini  to  the  contrary  notwithstanding.  They — not  the 
Italians— are  listened  to  by  a  delighted  semi-Moro  audience, 
with  a  most  profound  Oriental  and  melancholy  attention.  Like 
their  love,  their  music,  which  is  its  food,  is  a  serious  affair ;  yet 
the  sad  song,  the  guitar,  and  dance,  at  this  moment,  form  the  joy 
of  careless  poverty,  the  repose  of  sunburnt  labour.  The  poor 
forget  their  toils,  sa/is  six  sous  et  sans  souci ;  nay,  even  their 
meals,  like  Pliny's  friend  Claro,  who  lost  his  supper,  Bcetican 
olives  and  gazpacho,  to  run  after  a  Gaditanian  dancing-girl. 

In  venta  and  court-yard,  in  spite  of  a  long  day's  work  and 
scanty  fare,  at  the  sound  of  the  guitar  and  click  of  the  castanet, 
a  new  life  is  breathed  into  their  veins.  So  far  from  feeling  past 
fatigue,  the  very  fatigue  of  the  dance  seems  refreshing,  and 
many  a  we